Sunday, December 28, 2008

Resolutions 2009

I read an article (and you know how they say when the student is ready, the teacher appears) and it said that instead of trying to fix yourself or your life, instead of focusing on corrections, it might be nice to spend a year extending yourself, challenging yourself, creating experiences.

So my resolutions this year, instead of the standard lose weight/clean the house/save money, are these...

1. Schedule one day per month that I do something really fun with the kids, stuff we always talk about doing. I'm going to put together a jar of things to do and we'll pick one out each time.
2. Schedule 2 hours per week for myself - no TV, no kids. Whatever else I want (including Wii Fit).
3. Schedule 1 date per month with my husband. Daytime, evening, whatever time we can squeeze out of our lives.

So that's it. Those are my resolutions. Am I trying to change some things and make myself better, my home better, my family happier? Yes. Am I trying to lay out some plans? Yes. But my real resolutions are these.

This year, instead of taking away, instead of critiquing, I am adding. I am expanding.

2008 in review

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Used a crutch (an actual, physical crutch).
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Not so much. I will make more, but they will be a bit different this year. Stay tuned.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Don't remember any, but I was wrong last year too.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Went to a few funerals this year.
5. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? More drive to do my best every day.
6. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Stepping into my own business.
7. What was your biggest failure? Not managing that business as well as I would have liked.
8. Did you suffer illness or injury? My little toe. My knees.
9. What was the best thing you bought? Best things this year were either ideas or they were free.
10. Where did most of your money go? Target. Daycare.
12. What did you get really, really, really excited about? the free dresser I found up the street
13. What song will always remind you of 2008? So What by Pink
14. Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer? Same/Same/Same
15. What do you wish you’d done more of? Taking care of myself.
16. What do you wish you’d done less of? Griping.
17. What was your favorite TV program? Gary Unmarried
18. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate last year? No.
19. What was the best book you read this year? In the Woods by Tana French
20. What was your greatest musical discovery? I don't really discover music as much as "jump on the bandwagon".
21. What was your favorite film this year? Not sure I saw one in the theater.
22. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Just letting go and getting on with it.
23. What kept you sane? Sane?
24. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I'm kind of over that.
25. What political issue stirred you the most? The entire election.
26. Who was the best new person you met? My whole last training class at work. It was more fun than I've had in a while.
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. Shelly on Celebrity Rehab said, "I can tell the ones who are willing to do whatever it takes and the ones who are willing to do what they think it should take, and I've been at this too long to think they will succeed." I have long suspected this of myself, but never knew how to put it into words.
28. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. So what! I'm still a rock star, I've got my rock moves.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas decor


The front hall:

I took a vase (that I already owned) and added a package of sleigh bells (Home Goods, 25% off) and some blue spruce twigs (free from my backyard).

In the foreground are 3 pinecone candles (found them in the china hutch) on my antique silver butter pat plates. I bought the coasters at Target and the "ice" on the plates is ice cream salt ($1.12 for a box).



Along the stairwell is a grouping of Norway Pine boughs (backyard again) with bows and a candy cane ornament (handmade). For the bows, I bought a spool of wired ribbon (3.99) and made a couple of bows out of it. The candy cane ornament is 5 candy canes taped together with a bow to cover the tape (3 boxes of candy canes, $2.98). I also bought a decorative thingy (probably for holiday arrangements, $2.99) that I cut up and stuffed in the middle of each. I also hung two of these on suction cups on the sidelight window next to the front door.



And the last piece were these candles on the top of the stair rail. I bought a pack of dinner candles (small candles in glass containers, $5.99) and placed them in regular kitchen glasses. I added more ice cream salt mixed with 6 crushed-up candy canes (see previous project) to keep them steady and add to the effect.

The best part is that I have extras left over for next year. All the candy canes will be saved and either reused or crushed up. I barely put a dent in the box of ice cream salt, so there's plenty of that, and I only used half of the dinner candles.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Go get them now!

oldnavy.com has plenty of tops for $3-$5 and pretty much your whole order will ship for $7, so go nuts. Click on Sale for the deals.

And Old Navy runs small, so order a size or two up.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas wishes really do come true... sorta.

So we got our wish to stay home with our kids on Christmas day.

Our puking, cranky, tired, sick kids. Both kids are throwing up today and Christmas dinner with the in laws has been canceled. I was kind of getting excited to have people over and host dinner and presents and stuff, but here we are.

Tale of the Monkey's Paw, anyone? Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The 25th mile

It's Christmas Eve. We are having MIL and SIL over tonight for fondue (yes, people still do that), so everything must be done by then. Mostly, it all was when I left this morning.

I picked up the basement this morning. The tree is up, the furniture moved, and there are just a few things that need to go out to the garage. There are presents under the tree.

I picked up the livingroom this morning. All remaining presents (wrapped and unwrapped) went into a bag in the hall closet. All wrapping paraphrenalia went into another bag set in the livingroom. Remaining presents (only 4 or so) can be wrapped later tonight after guests go home.

Groceries were purchased last night. Except oil for fondue. What can I say, it wasn't on my list. Must stop back at Cub and get oil and $10 gift card for dice game. Forgot that too.

We are finally happy with the furniture arrangement in the livingroom and will probably live with it for a while. Basement is nice too, moved children's table down there, although we still need to move the BF coffee table out to the garage. It will fit back in the livingroom, but Pants is afraid the children will end up with brain damage. Probably right. Girls' rooms are mostly clean and organized, have weeded out much of the crap that collects over a year (plastic junk, McDonald's toys, 4 inch creepy-looking dolls, etc.), plus two of the larger toy items. Must do more weeding after the holidays, but can't think about it now. Bathroom is clean, including getting on my hands and knees and scrubbing the floor.

Hmmm. Kitchen needs work. Both sinks full of dishes (of the dirty variety), counters completely covered with stuff, floor likes like it hasn't been cleaned in months (ahem). I hope Pants gets on that today.

All additional decorating is done and house looks cute and festive, but not like elves crapped Christmas. Tasteful.

So, really, all that's left today is vacuuming the entire house, cleaning the kitchen, clearing some crap out of various rooms that needs to be put in the garage (including the hutch, since we are using the buffet now for the BFTV). Pants and I have done about 20 loads of laundry in the last 2 weeks and are discovering that we don't have enough space to hold everyone's clothes. All drawers are bulging, all closets packed full. Anyone have another cute mid-century modern dresser for free for me? Anyone?

In the end, I got what I wanted for Christmas. A little Christmas excitement for my kids. A visit to Santa (after 3 hours in the mall). My girl's first sled. A Christmas tree. A warm home that looks like people like living there. I mean warm feeling, not temperature. Maybe I'll wish for that next year.

Still on my wish list? New tires for the Scion. New phones for Pants and I (2 weeks and counting). A basement remodel (and bathroom, kitchen, plus an addition). An insulated garage for Pants's man cave. A TV downstairs that's hooked up to the satellite. A garage sale soon so I can get rid of half the crap in the garage. A brilliant idea for a lighting system in the well so I can see what we're storing. A new shed. A slab next to it to park the truck in the winter. To sell the Intrepid (or give it away, or pay someone to get it out of my driveway). Cheaper daycare. To potty train the kids. To lose 40 pounds.

Wait, we're starting to hit a different kind of post.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

And the snow keeps falling, falling, falling, falling...

Wanted to get the kids out to see Santa today (I know, 4 days from Christmas, SHUT UP), but the snow just keeps coming and I don't know if it's a good idea to drive to the mall.

So we're back to cleaning and decorating for the holiday. I will be posting separately about doing Martha on the cheap, so I'll leave that one for now.

Pants is out snowblowing to stay ahead of the inches. I took the girls out to play in the snow earlier, but it's pretty cold out and Meimei is too small to walk through the snow in the yard. I put her on the Tot sled, but that just caused a fight because Kitten wanted a ride too and she's too heavy for me to keep pulling. So we went back inside despite a wicked fit, courtesy of Meimei. And now I can't find the old bottle drying rack to put their hats and mittens on. I was really proud of that idea, too.

Oh well, back to the grind. My husband described our house as an "eyesore" this afternoon, so I guess there's some work to do.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh dear God I found it!

A disturbing reminder of why I don't host holidays...

Quite honestly, the Martha Stewart in me surfaces and by the time the day comes, I'm practically remodeling.

Pants and MIL agreed that the solution to Christmas issues this year is to have it at our house. Which I fully agreed to before he talked to her. And it's fine, it really is.

Except that now nothing in my house is right and there's tons of decorating I want to do and I have a feeling my living room is going to look like a herd of elves crapped Christmas.

Why oh why can't I ever just throw out a plate of crackers and cheese and call it good?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How do you know that?

On the airplane out to MD, Kitten grabbed the magazine I was thumbing through and tried to tear it from my hands. Assuming this was some kind of punch-drunk reaction to me not paying attention to her, I started pulling back and telling her it was mine, that I was reading it and it wasn't polite to just pull it away. She answered with, "No, I want to see Barack OBAMA!!"

Stunned silence. Sure enough, President-Elect Obama is on the bottom corner of the page.

We discuss Obama while quite a bit over the weekend. On Saturday, we decide to go see the National Zoo, and while we're out there, we drive Kitten by the Capitol and the White House so she can see where Barack Obama will work and live.

Awesome. But after driving back through the Cities on our way home from the airport, she decided Barack Obama lives at the Basilica.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Let's take a moment to not bash Christmas

MIL is still not speaking to us and it looks like we will be wholly alone for the holidays this year. Not exactly what I was wishing for, but whatever.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Depends on the family, the size and shape of the gift. I prefer to wrap, but I'll do bags.
2. Real tree or Artificial?
Artificial. I love real trees, but Pants and I are far too lazy to go out and get one.
3. When do you put up the tree?
Supposed to be this weekend, but the plan was for MIL to watch the kids today...
4. When do you take the tree down?
March?
5. Do you like eggnog?
I can't get over the name - it just sounds gross.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
My stuffed ewok the year Jedi came out. I still have that and it's awesome.
7. Hardest person to buy for?
My stepmother. I just don't want to get it wrong, you know?
8. Easiest person to buy for?
kids and Pants. I'm constantly finding stuff for them and have to step it back.
9. Do you have a nativity scene?
I do. Despite my ambivalence, it was never Christmas at home until we put it up.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail. I don't really the act of filling them out and mailing them, but I like to get them in the mail, so I do it.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I can't really think of any.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
White Christmas - where else do they use the term "weirdsmobile"?
Love Actually - I'm dying that I don't own it and I have to wait until the 20th to Tivo it.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
I buy stuff whenever if it's on sale and seems like a good fit.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I don't think so
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Cookies.
16. Lights on the tree?
Prelit is the only way to go.
17. Favorite Christmas song?
I'll be home for Christmas
All I want for Christmas is You
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
See previous post.
19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
You better believe it.
20. Angel on the tree-top or a star?
The last few years the tree has been in the basement and it's too tall. I had to bend the top over so I bought a big decorative bow to hide it.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
We haven't completely decided yet. We've been doing morning.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
See previous post.
23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
My tree is red white and blue with Santas and snowmen.
24. Favorite food for Christmas dinner?
Ham.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Family peace? Acceptance of new traditions? I don't think Santa can fit that stuff in his bag.

Monday, December 08, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like drama...

MIL has stopped speaking to Pants because of Christmas. Isn't this exactly what we wanted to avoid this year?

I thought we had solved our problem by announcing loudly and often that we were not going anywhere on Christmas day. At all. Apparently we are being unreasonable.

You may remember last year's Christmas debacle that left us all tired, cranky, and hating Christmas. And I swore it would be different. We decided that we would not go anywhere on Christmas Day and would not go more than 1 place on any given day.

Let me explain my reasons. When we were married without children, we went wherever the winds blew us and just tried to make everyone happy. If there was a ham, turkey, or roast, we were there.

Small children can't be yanked around like that. It's way too overstimulating, they don't get naps, and everyone thinks it's their right to feed them candy and cookies with impunity because it's Christmas, for crying out loud. There are so many presents they can't even focus their eyeballs anymore and they have no idea what is from whom. All manners (please and thank you) go out the window and they end up asking for more more more at the end of the day. It's too much. It's disrespectful to the gift-givers - the kids don't even enjoy the gifts until much later, if ever.

So we made a decision after last year to respect our children, our families, and our kids, and we made the rules about how we would conduct the holidays. But our plan apparently doesn't work for everyone.

When I was a kid, we stayed home for Christmas. We often went somewhere the weekend before or after, but Christmas was sacrosanct. Pants had the same thing as a child. Why is it that parents want to keep us as children, whims to their replays of holidays past?

This is what we want for our kids - we want our presents to them and Santa's presents to mean something and not be overshadowed by 45 other gifts. We want them to be able to play with their gifts. We want each time they receive a gift to be special, we want them to understand that the giver loves them and gave them something they hoped would make them happy.

We don't want gifts to be just one more thing to tear the paper off of in a long string of noise. We don't want them to expect another and another because that is how the whole day has gone.

I thought what I hated about Christmas with my children was the lack of meaning, the endless stuff that was just plastic junk. I think what I really loathe is the poor lessons, the spoiling, and the rampant more more more. I don't mind them getting stuff - they're kids! And I figured out it's not about the cheap plastic junk - some of that stuff is their favorite stuff. It's the expectations that we all better show up and be merry, dammit, or we're ruining Christmas. We better love everything like it's the perfect gift, or we're insulting people who love us. We better smile and go along or we're ungrateful and rude.

What I hate is that Christmas is so festooned with expectations tied to emotion that it turns into a landmine. No other time of year is so fraught with unspoken rules and hurt feelings. The wrong word, the wrong action, the wrong gift and it is all ruined. That is so not me. Or Pants. And we don't want that for our kids.

Please pass the forgiveness and love. Um, no guilt for me this year, thanks. I'm trying to cut back.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Catching up

I'm catching up on some of my Tivo from while we were gone and am currently weeping over Extreme Makover: Home Edition. But now Fringe is on hiatus until January. Boo.

The kids did as well on the plane ride home as they could have. The ride home was a bit rougher than the ride out, but we made it. We had a minor Boston-like scare at the Atlanta airport, but we managed to get on a plane after about an hour delay. Although, "just sit in any open seat" is never a phrase you want to hear when traveling with children (and when you already have 4 perfectly good seats listed on your boarding passes).

It's been hard to get back into the swing of things - the kids are a little off, I'm a lot off, and we just got our cell phone chargers mailed back to us by my parents. We haven't had phones since we came home.

My TMJ is not any better, but TSB gave me some info, I got my TMJ book from Amazon, and I'm going to go find my splint.

Oh, and I have a couple of items to add to the "traveling with children" list:
  • If small children want to carry a little backpack, let them. Get one proportionate to their size and put some of their personal items (dolls, books, nukkies, etc.) in it. BUT, rest assured, your child will stop carrying it at some point during your trip. Buy a small carob beaner clip and hook it on the top loop. Use it to connect the bag to your other luggage so it doesn't require another hand when they refuse to carry through the terminal to your connecting flight. This is my one stroke of genius and I'm proud of it.
  • I didn't believe Ms. Huis Herself when she suggested you wrap items in tissue for the novelty of opening them, but DO IT. I wish I had. It might have saved us some of the fits upon landing on the way home.
  • Bring your kid a small travel pillow. Hope they sleep.

She gets it this year

Pants: Kitten, you did really good tonight. You didn't get any time outs.
Kitten: I want to go tell Santa I need some toys!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Back in the saddle again

Posting from Maryland in my parents' office. It's weird that they can live in an entirely different house in an entirely different state, but the surroundings make me feel 15 again. Familiar furniture, knick-knacks, Christmas tree, etc. Completely different but all the same. 

The kids are loving it. My mom has a puppy, Mad Max, that Kitten is absolutely in love with. It's really just a living creature she can get away with bossing around, but she's having a good time. Meimei, on the other hand, is horrified that the animal. wants. to. touch. her.

Had a fantastic Thanksgiving yesterday with tons of family and friends. I love being out here and having new people for dinner with family too - Grma and Grpa Sch brought friends from overseas to eat with us and I loved them - funny, kind, and the woman is Dutch, so you know my mom thinks she walks on water. I have to admit, though, I was partial to Hans. I want to bring him home and have him sit by my fireplace and tell me stories in an Austrian accent and correct my German. Do you think he'll come if I offer to make him strudel? I'll make it from scratch... 

And oh, the yams. Grma Sch promised the recipe and I'll post to recipeeps when I get it. You won't be disappointed. 

But anyway, I think we'll go to the National Zoo today with the kids, then mom wants to have a little Christmas, as long as we're out here. (Yeah, Kitten already talked Nana into a present yesterday, the little conniver.) Then tomorrow it's more family time with some family that didn't make it out yesterday and then back on the plane on Sunday. 

All in all, it's just nice to have a few days with my 'rents. Haven't seen them in a while, have never seen their new place or the dog. Some of the family have never seen my kids. Having a good time and hope you all are having an amazing weekend filled with family and friends. My love for everyone overflows, despite the inevitable cold I always contract when we travel. 

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Random Thoughts

My jaw is sore - TMJ sucks. I've been trying to sleep on my back with just a small rolled sweatshirt under my neck, a pair of rolled-up boxers as lumbar support, and a pillow under my knees. I feel like a vampire in a coffin. I wonder if Pants will find my with my arms crossed over my chest and stake me in my sleep.

Kitten discovered a couple of old nukkies in a backpack and turned into a screaming, raging 3-year-old. We have given up the nukkie battle for now. After the holiday, we hope to remove them from both children.

Had a rather successful show on Saturday, even with a preview of my December sale. If you are interested in product, stay tuned...

Got my Christmas cards done and printed. Bets on when they will get mailed? They're cute as hell, though.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Closet dilemma

So, my new poll is in regards to the useless closets in our bedroom. Here's the background you might need for an accurate vote:
  • We have a clothes rack in the office that holds the bulk of our clothes.
  • Only one section of the closet trio has a bar. One has a low shelf. The last has nothing except a basket with blankets in it.
  • With the closets intact, we each have 18-24 inches of clearance on our respective sides of the bed. If the closet doors are open, Pants has much less. The bed also has a very square footboard - you can imagine the bruises.
  • A full remodel to make the office into our closet and master bathroom is years away.
  • The carpet does not go under the little closet divider walls, I'm sure. Might be bare cement under there, for the glorious decisions we have unearthed so far.
  • Do you think we need a permit to tear down, or just to put back together?

I need a little grace today

Oh dear, we're the butt of the joke tonight on The Daily Show. "Minnesota - Crazier Than You Think."

7 things I'm grateful for from the last few days:

1. 6-8 loads of laundry done yesterday. Damn, clean underwear feels good.
2. Real apple cider warmed in my favorite mug - only available in the fall.
3. Flylady.net and shining my sink.
4. Kitten is pooping again.
5. Meimei has decided to show us how Elmo can walk down the stairs and "slinky." Must be seen to be believed. For the slinky, she skooches him down one step and basically punts him down the rest.
6. Realized today that Pants gets paid 3 times next month.
7. Changed the litter - my kitty likes me again!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Insurance sucks

My ears have been hurting. And itching. Tons of pressure. But I didn't have an ear infection, confirmed first at the Minute Clinic and then a week later at my regular clinic. They referred me to ENT for this morning.

ENT tested my hearing, which is fine. Then they looked at my ears, which also looked fine (again). Then the doctor ran his fingers up my neck to where the jaw meets and I nearly leapt out of the chair.

Turns out TMD/TMJ often presents as ear pain/pressure/itching. So they shuffled me out of ENT to the referral lady, who told me to call my insurance and ask them who I could see for it. Apparently, it also turns out that insurance has a hard time with TMD because medical thinks dental should cover it and vice versa.

So my insurance will only cover a visit to maxillo-facial pain clinic if it results in surgery. Does this sound logical at all? I'm on my own until it's so bad I need surgery? Don't cover any kind of consultation, physical therapy, acupuncture or anything less invasive that might prevent surgery. That's just crazy talk.

So I guess I'm on my own.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Potty talk

"I go on the school bus when I'm five. But I can't go bus if, if, if, if, if... I can't wear a diaper."
"Yeah, you can't go to school until you wear big girl pants."
"I know."
"Are you afraid to go in the potty, honey?"
"Yeah."
"What do you think would help?"
"Um, um, um, I think a princess potty."
"Oh, you could go in a princess potty?"
"Yeah. I need a princess potty."

Honestly, people, I would pay the kid $100 if it meant she would go. Why oh why don't children take checks?

The best of times, the worst of times

High School Meme

1 Who was your best friend? Bonnie

2 What high school sports did you play? My nickname was Tennis the Menace.

3 What kind of car did you drive? Huffy. Okay, it wasn't even a Huffy, it was a Coast King.

4 It's Friday night, where were you? School dance in the cafeteria.

5 Were you a party animal? Not so much.

6 Were you considered a flirt. Depends on who you ask, and which year.

7 Were you in band, orchestra or choir? Band, totally. Only popular kids were in choir.

7b Any other extracurriculars? Theater, Science Club, Knowledge Bowl, Marching and Pep Band.

8 Were you a nerd? Um... yeah.

9 Did you get suspended/expelled? I got detention once, does that count?

10 Can you sing the fight song? Sorry, it's been replaced by the MN Rouser.

11 Who was your favorite teacher? Jep, Garm, Olson, Cushman

12 School mascot? Redmen, Cougars (for a summer), then Magic. It was a whole drama because we had to change it, for reasons that are very clear to me now.

13 Did you go to Prom? Twice I think.

14 If you could go back and do it over, would you? Not so much.

15 What do you remember most about graduation? How stinkin' hot it was in the gym.

16 Where were you on senior skip day? We didn't have one and were promised a trip to Valley Fair in exchange.

17 Did you have a job your senior year? Yep - kitchen duty at the nursing home down the road.

18 Where did you go most often for lunch? The Commons area - where the hamburgers and fries were located.

19 Have you gained weight since then? You think?

20 What did you do after graduation? College.

21 When did you graduate? Class of '92

22 Who was your senior prom date? Jay.

23 Are you going / did you go to your 10 year reunion? I couldn't bear the thought of answering 100+ people asking if I had kids when I had just had my third miscarriage.

24 Who was your homeroom teacher? Last one I remember is 7th grade, Mr. Dornfeld.

25 Who will repost this after you? Some other band geek, I'm sure.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Random Thoughts

I read yesterday that Rick Astley is enjoying a surge in popularity due to "Rickrolling," where seemingly unrelated internet links bring surfers back to a video of "Never Gonna Give You Up." I have yet to experience this, but I felt an immediate surge of nostalgia for a person who shall remain nameless, unless such person wishes to out himself/herself in the comments.

Our great state is in the midst of the closest Senate race in MN's history. The votes separating Al Franken (D) and Norm Coleman (R), the incumbent, which started at 700-ish Wednesday, is now down to 221. Much focus is being placed on the "undervote," or 25,000 ballots that registered a vote for president, but not for the Senate race. Overwhelmingly, the undervotes have favored Obama. There are also 8900 ballots that didn't register a vote for President, which concerns election officials for such a closely-watched race. These 33,000 ballots will be reviewed by election officials to see if there was an intent to vote that didn't get read by the machines. Although the count is down to 221 votes, this race is totally up in the air with 33,000 ballots out there to read. Even if it's already looking good for the democrats.

I went into the Minute Clinic on Tuesday for the pressure in my ears (got a flu shot and the pnuemonia vaccine too). She said they were full of fluid, but not infected yet. They might be infected now, but I'm not sure. I know they're still full.

In other medical news, my podiatry appointment is finally coming up on Tuesday. I had thought about cancelling it after the horrific itching stopped, but I think I will go anyway and just get another opinion.

I should really stop watching HGTV, it just makes me want to do stuff that costs money.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

And they all breathed a collective sigh of relief...

I don't know when the last time was that I could say I was proud of my country.

Tonight I can actually hear the country breathe. I feel the negativity of the last month lifting. Hearing McCain's concession was like a weight lifting - positive and gracious, for once in this whole election (from anyone).

And listening to Obama now is like listening to my best friend. He's got my best interests at heart, but he's going to tell me the truth, even if it hurts.

I don't know how this is going to turn out over the next 4 years - it's proving time for the Dems. No one knows what's going to happen. But for one night, I am proud to be an American again.

2067

I was voter 2067 in my ward this afternoon.

And dang, were they organized. One judge out in the hall stopping folks who needed to register so they could start outside the melee. Switch-back lines so everyone could wait inside the gym in an orderly fashion (middle school, you know). Line directors at the front to show people to open polling stations and to allow people a bit of privacy while they fed their ballot into the machine.

In all, it took about 20 minutes for me to do it all. With an additional 100 people milling through the process. Brilliant.

Oh, and I so love that there is one precinct reporting in for Maine right now - with a total of 3 votes. If I could extrapolate that to the entire Presidential election, I would be a happy girl.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Oh, the leaves

We had fun trick or treating - although we didn't go to a lot of houses and things got a bit manic toward the end. Kitten was wandering in a drunken stupor from house to house and Meimei was running like a crazed monkey. She even tried to turn back to some houses we just finished at. That's 2-year-old logic - hey, we know they have candy, why move on to the next one?

Saturday we started raking after Pants nearly broke the mower trying to mulch up the backyard. Apparently we have to stay on top of it a bit better next year. I should have some pretty groovy pictures when I locate the camera.

This evening we started bagging the leaves. Worst. Job. Ever.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Conversations around the house

Syl: Look honey! She's moving her fries over so I can put more chicken on her plate! Oh, Kitten, you don't like things to touch either!
Pants: I'm a little disturbed that you're so excited about that.

Kitten: Look mama, it's dark outside.
S: Yes, it's getting dark, isn't it.
K: NO, it's already dark out!
S: Ok, sweetie. Whatever you want.

Meimei (standing at top of stairs): ISS CODE OUSSIDE!! YOU PUT COAT ON!!
(M proceeds to drag my long sweater off the chair and bring it to me so I can go to work. With a coat. Because it's cold out.)

M: I HAF GET MY HUCKEN!! (because most of what she utters is a scream these days)
P: What did she say?
S: I have to get my bucket.
P: You got that?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Settle the debate

Ok, so there's this crappy country song where the girl demands to be let out of the car on prom night and then she is hit by a car because it's a dark night, black dress, and the car couldn't see her.

So, Pants thinks you never let a girl out of the car. You offer to drive her somewhere, call someone, take her home, whatever.

And I think that whenever a girl asks to be let out of the car, you let her out. She is either very serious and you should respect her wishes and let her out, or she's playing a game and you should not take it and she should be let out of the car.

When she demands to be let out, do you let her out?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tee hee hee

Ok, so Michele Bachmann, Represenative from Minn to the US House, questioned if Obama had anti-American views and suggested that Congress ought to call him out on it.

Many of us liberals here in MN (the only state that voted for Mondale, thank you very much, D.C. not being a state) have been cringing at Bachmann for years. She seems to always be putting her foot in her mouth or getting herself on camara in some weird way. You might remember her from such hits as getting awkwardly affectionate with the president after a State of the Union speech (on camara on national television), or her extremely conservative views on women's issues. I secretly think she either hasn't completed her transgender surgery yet or that she's a total closet lesbian - something that's causing a lot of self-loathing.

So anyway, let's return to our faux pas already in progress. So Bachmann makes this inflammatory comment on national television while in the middle of running her own campaign for reelection. Within hours, the great people of Minnesota have donated $600,000 to her opponent (unfortunately named, and I'm not even kidding, Edwyn Tinklenberg).

So nice job, Michele, excellent campaign strategy. We hoped your own comments would eventually bring you down, but we couldn't even have dreamed of something this delicious. Thanks for making the election season a little more exciting, even when you're not in my district.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Error

Due to a postal holiday, wherein our country co-opted another in a seriously brutal endeavor, there will be no posting.

If I don't get mail, I don't write. End of story.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Project day

I planned to go to an orchard with the kiddos today, but one of the cousins probably has strep so they backed out, and MIL didn't want to go with the threat of rain, so we didn't. But, hoody-ho, MIL offered to take the kids all day WITHOUT ME.

So I threw some clothes on the kids and ran them over to MIL's. AND THEN LEFT.

I never do this. Never. If we go to MIL's, I stay and help. It's nice to get out of the house and it's nice to have extra hands. I just feel guilty - they're my kids and I can't just dump them on people when I'm done for the day. But she insisted. She insisted.

So I agreed to it - and oh, the full day of doing and not doing. I forget what it was like to actually get things done.
  • Hung new blind in our room - replaced the matchstick blind you can totally see right through at night when the light is on in the room.
  • Hung new curtain on office window facing the walking path.
  • Put separators in my new underwear drawer (it's an actual drawer! Not a basket, a drawer!)
  • Cleaned the tub and did some patch-caulking. I am afraid the entire tub will need recaulking and I think the tiles all need to be pulled and replaced. Although it looks like they might have been once already.
  • Removed the shelf and closet rod from the closet underneath the stairs. Started reorganizing my office and my products. Now I won't run forehead-first into the shelf again. I can actually stand up in there.
  • Also purchased and put together a rolling rack for my office supplies - I can pull it out when I need to do business or just get my backorders in the mail.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Go get them now!!!

I ran to J.C. Penney today to get Kitten some new tops - her body is so long that most of her long sleeve tops from last year don't come down far enough and allow her belly to hang out.

Holy cheap batman! They are having a 50% off sale today, with all of their Okie Dokie line $5 a piece. And they now carry shirts in Tunic length!! PLUS, their clearance is 50% off clearance prices AND they have a coupon for 10% off your entire purchase, which the lady at the counter was kind enough to have on hand and give me.

I got 2 pairs of leggings, 1 skegging (skirt and legging sewn together), 1 babydoll sweater, 5 tops, and a pair of shoes for Meimei for $43. THAT'S CHEAP!!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Conversations

Dear feet -
I have made the podiatry referral appointment, but it is so not my fault that they are only at the clinic Monday mornings and Tuesday afternoons and it's a whole extra month before we could get in. Please stop the insane burning itch. I will continue to scrub and lather you with medicine in hopes of appeasing you.

Dear MIL and SIL -
Thanks for covering 2 days of daycare vacation this week. You are awesome and the kids loved it!

Dear Poppa Rob -
Kitten told SIL today she had her eyes on her (complete with the fingers in her eyes). She loves you guys so much.

Dear CSI writers -
Damn you for killing Warrick off and making me sob through the entire episode. Evil bastards.

Love,
Someone who forgot her medication today...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Have we finally learned?

It appears that, after months of railing against the inevitable (and racking up the credit cards in the process), we have come to accept that we have very little disposable income and have started to live within our means.

I carry a coupon book around in my purse. I scour the Sunday paper each week for manufacturer and store coupons. We rarely eat out anymore at a restaurant we don't have a coupon for. I order much more creatively at fast food restaurants.

I have started shopping for Christmas and regularly peruse the Clearance racks for things I know someone will like. I have found some awesome bargains. I have also found several pairs of shorts, pajamas, and tops for the girls for next summer.

The biggest difference is that we eat at home. I am planning menus again and purchasing food based on what's on sale that week. I made Pants a lunch yesterday for work (I know, the good little wifey, puke puke).

We have also been looking at other expenses - I found that the Minnesota Renaissance School, a Montessori school in Anoka, is $10 less a week during the school year, but $75 less per week in the summer for both of them, plus they start getting some preschool education, which I think they are currently lacking at the present daycare. Meimei has to be 2 1/2 and I suspect they both have to be potty trained, but we have a few months to get everything squared away. It also changes our morning and evening routine because we have to cross the bridge each day, so there is more to be worked out on that one, but we're going to try to make it work. What a break in the summer!! And even $40 a month is $40 dollars we didn't have before.

We have also considered refinancing our house, as the rates have gone down a bit since we bought. We would like to stay with our credit union, but I don't think the rates have gone down enough to make it worth it and drop our payment much and I am afraid the value of our house has gone down and it won't appraise high enough. This refinance would NOT be to take out extra money, but merely to get a better rate, although we would most likely have to roll the refinance costs back into the loan.

This month, the busiest month in my toy business so far, instead of continuing to build my demo kit all available profits will go back to the credit cards. Pants is also putting in some overtime to get the credit cards paid up. My secret hope is to pay off the credit cards by the end of the year, although it's really a stretch goal.

As I read this back over, though, I wonder if these are temporary changes that will fall away again, as they have many other times. Some of them are designed to be temporary, but some need to stick much longer if we are to make it until they are both in school.

Monday, October 06, 2008

More Random Thoughts

Discovered the day after my show I have a half-dollar size bruise on my left arm just below my elbow where my half-assed rigging of equipment rubbed somewhere during between the parking garage and hotel suite. Bummer, dude.

It's vacation week for daycare so I'm home today and tomorrow with the girlies. Today we went to the zoo and then baked an apple crisp with Kitten while Meimei napped. When she got up, she helped us.

And then Kitten fell off the chair she was standing on. Twice. And later burned her finger trying to make sure that baking pan I told her was hot was actually hot. Granted, she's not exactly genetically predispositioned to be an Olympic athlete, but dang, girl.

Other than that, excellent day. Perfect day at the zoo, great weather and very few people. I was able to let the girls walk around inside the animal buildings and on the "cat walk". After clawing at my leg upon seeing the lion pair in the glass enclosure sleeping in the Large Cat building, Meimei was very brave and roared at the lion pair out in the enclosure from the walk. Yes, very brave indeed from the upper walk. When the cats were at eye level, not so much.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Random Thoughts

Had no takers for this evening's show but I managed on my own. Two of my stock totes did take a fall in the IDS Center, but there were no toys involved and I got it picked up really quickly. I definitely know what I will do for next time to make it easier, though. The show was a typical bachelorette party - I'm mostly there as entertainment. They're lower dollar shows, but it gets my name out there.

So, while I was out this evening, Kitten threw up on Pants. I don't know why he gets so lucky to get all the puke, but he does. She was fine by the time I got home, but Pants high-tailed it out of here.

Pants did get my new dresser into the bedroom today, though. It was free, curbside down the road about 6 houses. It's probably 60s, but not tragically Brady Bunch, and it's larger than I thought with fairly clean lines. It needs some work, but I think it will be a cool piece one day. In the mean time, I just needed a better place to put my underwear.

My athlete's foot saga continues. As predicted, once the horrible burning stopped I was not quite as consistent on the foot-washing and application of medicine as prescribed on the box. Grrr. On the other hand, I am once again fully medicated, in every sense that word applies to me.

Daycare is closed this coming week, so I'll be home Monday and Tuesday with the monkeys.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Random Thoughts - VP Debate edition

Um, did anyone else throw up a little bit when Gov. Palin talked about the "expanded definition" of the VP's responsibilities and how she would take advantage of them, like Dick Cheney has?

Palin word count:
Maverick: 6
Main Street: 6
Partisan/Bipartisan: too many to count

When the first comment is, "Well, she didn't embarass herself," I wouldn't feel terribly encouraged.

Pants and I agreed that, while she didn't fall flat, Palin appeared to have 5-7 talking points that she kept coming back to, and we didn't feel she answered a lot of the questions.

Have I mentioned how much it completely pisses me off that here is only the second woman to share the presidential ticket for America and she's dumb as a rock. We finally get another on in there and it's Phyllis Wheatley. She's Jesse Ventura with better taste in suits. She's a novelty as Alaska's governer and they like her because she's "anti-establishment" and she gives them a check every year. Remember the Jesse check? Remember the budget deficit the year after he left office? Ask Alaska in 2 years how they feel about Sarah Palin.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wanna help?

I have a show at a downtown hotel on Saturday afternoon. It's a bachelorette party, approximately 10-15 women, and they want it to stay on the short side with lots of fun and games. I need a helper for the show, from 3-7 (all inclusive, from picking you up to dropping you off, if needed), to assist me in carrying my crap from the car to the hotel suite, run games (not participate), and help get the products in and out of their hands. Also to assist in getting women through the ordering room with as little waiting as possible.

Oh, and a $25 product credit to the lucky volunteer. Plus a cheap dinner and all the carbonated beverages you want.

Any takers? Oh, and friends with male parts need not apply. Sorry guys.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Everything falls apart

So, Pants and I attended the funeral of a 33-year old father. He was found dead on his couch Thursday night by his wife. We don't really know what happened yet.

This young man was the younger brother of the best man at our wedding. A man who grew in the very house we now own, whose parents lived here when he was born. A man with a daughter the same age as Kitten.

It's different. Every death is different. One would think that I would be able to empathize because my brother died suddenly, young. But this is different. My brother was a different personality, a different life, a different death, a different family. This family we are watching, they are falling apart.

My brother and his girlfriend were solely responsible for their deaths. They drank, they drove, they chose not to wear seatbelts. They put a young, inexperienced driver behind the wheel in the dark on an unfamiliar road, driving an 80s muscle car. If you take any one of those things out of the equation, they live. If you take the same variables and run the night over, they live. Most catastrophic events are built on a string of circumstances, a perfect storm, where any one piece removed would stop or lessen the consequences.

But this man, the man we honored and mourned today, his death is a mystery. He complained of chest pains the day of his death, and his wife wonders why she didn't make him go to the hospital. It is suggested that perhaps his soak in the hot tub might have triggered an episode in an already damaged heart, and his parents think they killed him because they bought him the hot tub. Until this family knows what happened, and probably after that, they will continue to think they somehow should have been able to save his life.

And so they turn on each other, their faith, and themselves. One stops talking. One looks 20 years older. One cannot return to the church after the internment. One is found sobbing in bed, begging for his son back. They beg for some reason. Some truth in why this could happen.

And the ultimate truth is that there is no truth. People say things like, "he's in a better place," or "it was his time," or "God has plans for him." These things are designed to keep you from oozing your grief all over them because we are all so damned uncomfortable with raw grief, an emotion so painful it's difficult to watch. These words are uttered to try to make you get better in a hurry so you can stop freaking the rest of us out, already.

And above all, these words are designed to distance the teller from death. If it was his time, perhaps it isn't mine. If God had a plan, I'm sure my part in it is here, sitting comfortable with my family. The masses grasp for a reason for death so they can avoid that thing for themselves. Everyone is desperate to know why this man died so they can ensure it doesn't happen to them. And no one wants to hear there is nothing you can do to change any of it.

I didn't really know you, sir, and I'm not sure we would have enjoyed each other's company. But I am sorry for your loss because I have seen the pain on the faces of your family and your wife. I have seen the untroubled face of your daughter, who won't remember this day but will always wonder who her father was and why she has to grow up without him.

But I thank you for reminding me again that life is short, that I must hold my children enough today to last forever, and that I must again pull myself up, put on my big girl panties, and get on with it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A day in the life

Kitten: No more myoogits (music). I don't like this one.
Syl: Why? I like it. What's wrong with it?
K: I... I don't like it.
S: Does it make you sad?
K: Yeah. It makes the trees cry.

K: Meimei, look, a school bus!
M: (in perfectly clear words) That's awesome!

Kitten licks the inside of her arm, elbow to fingertips, at the dinner table. Syl busts out laughing.
Pants: Kitten, what are you doing? Don't do that, it's gross.
Kitten does it again. Syl stifles another giggle.
S: Daddy asked you not to do that honey.
K does it again.
S: Kitten, we don't lick ourselves like that at the table. You're not an animal.
Syl must then turn away and cover her face. But Kitten does stop the licking.

Kitten and Meimei slide backward down the stairs on their stomachs. Over and over.
"Momma, I slinky!"
Thanks, Nana and Papa.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What to do?

So, I was all writing this post in my head about my awesome hair and how only one person actually noticed something looked somehow brighter and that he never would have guessed it was dyed because the color was so layered, which was totally the best thing anyone could ever have said about my dye job, and he initially asked if I had been off somewhere sunny. I'll try to post pics when I'm not so morally outraged.

So I checked my email. After this summer's family reunion, I get all this quasi-political scare spam from one of my relatives, which is all very religious at it's core and appears to equate Democrats with Satan and Republicans with Jesus. I have managed to ignore most of it until today.

And maybe it's that I still am off my meds and that I have a cold and haven't slept and I am trying so hard to hold my shit together and that I fail miserably about 14 times a day. Maybe if this came on a different day, I wouldn't be so damn pissed off.

So today's email is supposedly a forwarded message from some missionaries in Kenya, Barack Obama's "home." They are claiming to be able to shed some light "first hand" on Obama's personal beliefs and those of his "family."

Here for your consumption, some gems from the email, along with my thoughts:
  • Obama's "family," which they briefly mention being his "tribe," is behind the recent uprising following the Kenyan Presidential Elections. Obama was born in America to an American mother and a Kenyan father. He spent most of his childhood in America, raised by his white mother in Ohio until they moved to Jakarta, India, with his new stepfather. He rarely saw his father before his death in a car crash.
    Hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the unrest and many untold are dead. Violence did erupt when the election results were announced. According to the linked report from Reuters UK, the death toll was standing at about 100, although many resulted from local police shooting looters.
  • Obama has personally given money to his cousin Raila Odinga, the leader of the group responsible for the unrest, whom they slanderously describe as "a socialist trained in East Germany." Although Odinga once claimed to be a cousin to Obama, he is merely from the same tribe as Obama's father. Conversely, Obama has been positively identified as a distant cousin to Dick Cheney. Odinga did report hearing from Senator Obama during the unrest after the election, during which he expressed his concern, and he also said that Obama told him he would be calling President Kibaki as well. As far as Odinga being a socialist trained in East Germany, he did attend school in Liepzig and Magdeburg, both of which are located in the former East Germany (which hasn't existed since I was in high school). And political scientists agree his politics are not Socialist, they are Populist.
  • Their proof that Odinga could only mean trouble is that he has been trying to bring Kenya down for years and was thrown in jail by the current president for trying to "subvert the country." Let us not forget that Nelson Mandela was also jailed for trying to "subvert the country." So have many bhuddists been jailed, many human rights workers, and many Christian missionaries.
  • These missionaries are sure that Obama will lose and then claim the election is rigged, just like they tried to claim in Kenya. Oh, and then he will possibly start a race war. The UK denounced the elections in Kenya as rigged and members of Kenya's own electoral committee questioned the results. Questioning the election on both sides appears to be appropriate, as some areas showed up to vote with OVER 100% of the populace. It is clear that the elections were rigged, although it is unclear on who should have prevailed. Should the presidency be decided based on who cheated less, or who got their cheating overlooked? Oddly, the US did not join the UK in denouncing the elections, but simply congratulated the declared winner with no regard to the questions of accuracy.
  • The next claim is that - GASP! - the liberal media is trying to hide the fact that Obama is a MUSLIM and a RACIST and that all Muslims are set on jihad. (They should know, they have been missionaries in a Muslim country for 20 years.) Most scholars agree that 99% of Muslims believe in peace and loathe the actions that have been taken in their name. Oh, and my friends at Snopes.com have struck down the notion that Senator Obama is Muslim. Not that there would be anything wrong with it if he were, but if you're going to slander someone, at least paint them with the right brush. I doubt Senator Obama has been masquerading in the Church of Christ for 30 years just to be able to claim he is a Christian now.
  • Here's the clincher - his name is Barack Hussein Muhammed Obama and he will insist on being sworn in on the Koran. The swearing in on the Koran was a mistaken reference to MN Congressman Keith Ellison, who is Muslim and was sworn into the MN House of Representatives with the Koran. Hussein and Muhammed are very common names in much of the world, especially Africa, although I cannot find a reference to Senator Obama having a middle name of Muhammed. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  • Final thoughts - "We are still fighting for our nation to withstand the same kind of assault that every nation, including America, is fighting - takeover from the outside to fit the new world order." I can't even tell you what this is referencing. Muslims taking over the world to create a new world order? I beg to differ, as Islam is quite a bit older than Christianity. And who is trying to take over America?
So, since they are cramming this crap down my throat, is it appropriate to respond and tell them just how wrong they are?

Oh, and to seal the deal, PolitiFact.com has posted this exact email as a scam to slander Obama. They have researched many of the claims with the originators of the email, who are actually missionaries in Africa (12 years, not 20), and found the claims to be fraudulent and inflamatory (there might be a mention to "pants on fire"). They have posted links to their research.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Random Thoughts

I broke down and got the Lamisil for my raging fungal infection. Again, however, twice daily washing my feet, drying thoroughly, and applying the cream is like asking me to stand on my head every third day and recite the full Catholic Apostle's Creed and "Terence, This is Stupid Stuff" entirely from memory. And then changing to every other day if Tuesday's date is a prime number.

I feel I need to weigh in on Miley Cyrus as a parent of children who watch Hannah Montana. I feel for the girl... up to a point.
  • The Vanity Fair shoot? I wouldn't even have seen the photos if some scaredy-moms hadn't made such a big stink. My kids don't really follow Annie Liebowitz, so we were pretty safe until the photos showed up EVERYWHERE so we could see just how awful they were. And yeah, not really awful at all.
  • Nude pictures of herself showed up on the internet. Did she text them to someone or something? Don't know, don't care. Stupid 15-year-old thing to do, end of story. If she wasn't famous, no one would have ever cared besides her parents.
  • Posting a video on You Tube of herself and a friend making fun of other Disney Stars. Yeah, that was pretty dumb. Can you tell the "Disney family" stance is starting to wear on her? We're starting to move into unacceptable territory - we discourage "mean" teasing in this house.
  • Announcing she was done after the season when her contract has an option for a fourth. Way to tip your hand, toots. I know you started this at 13 and you're much older and wiser now at 15, but hey, your parents signed a contract. And you got famous. Famous enough to shed the Hannah Montana persona and be successful as yourself. So show a little gratitude and finish out your legal obligations.
  • Misbehaving on set to try to get fired - Ok, I was mostly with you until now. I'm pretty sure it's not just a rumor, judging by your recent statements, and I think you and your dad are being bad sports. You will certainly lose my business - this is exactly what I don't want my kids to be. Suck it up and fulfill your promises. No one respects a quitter.
So Bill Clinton proved on the Daily Show last night why he is the greatest president of our time. Talking about how it wasn't a matter of how much love he and Hilary showed to Obama, it was a matter of comparing 2 candidates and deciding which was better for the majority of the American people. If we weren't married, and he were at least 30 years younger, I would so jump that guy.

Well, off to color my hair. Scared to death that I will completely ruin it and have to be embarrassed for the next 6 months. Or go Mia Farrow again. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Random Thoughts

Doing killer toy business these days. Also considering an Open House next month to show off the new toys. I have 3 shows booked for October, another in November already, and I hope to be getting the lead from my sponsor for a 4th show in October.

Have a killer case of athlete's foot. My feet are burning so bad that I now have a huge sore where I scratched a little too hard. Why oh why can't they make a cream that works in just a day or two. Depressed people can't keep going on that stuff for 2 weeks. Don't you people feel my pain?

My meds have run out and I can't get more until I go back to the doctor. Which means I have to take time off. Time I don't really have. Bummer, dude. I guess I'll have to make time.

Once again, so much to do at work it's a bit crazy. I'm the only one not training, so I get to do, um, everything else. Had to work from home today so I could attend the funeral of an employee's mother. But I looked fabulous. Really.

Watched Worst Week this evening. Man does that show look like it's going to get old. I was a bit tired of the gag by the end of the 30 minutes. Took the TiVo season pass off that one.

And, uh, so tired of the election and campaigning and attack ads already. Thank the sweet ginger pickles for DVR so I can zip past the commercials.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gah.

So. much.

Work is crazy and I'm about 3 years behind what I need to have done. I think I'm going to have to work this weekend. Gah.

Didn't mail out my show product today. Have to get up at 6 or so tomorrow so I can get to the Post Office, mail it out, then get back to the P&R and get on the bus. To get to work before training tomorrow. And then have to print the materials for my hostess packets so I can mail those out by Saturday. Just in time for my next show. 'S getting busy, the fall show season. Sweet ginger pickles.

House is icky. Have fruit flies. We're trying to get through laundry, but it's slow going. Hoping the dryer heating element isn't going faulty. Secretly hoping it is and we have to buy a new set. Secretly also hoping to win lottery.

Must go. Bed. Chelsea Lately started with skit, which just bodes ill for the episode. Plus, no one really funny on tonight. Boo.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Not fired yet

Kitten: We go this way?
Pants: Isn't it amazing how she knows this whole neighborhood? She could probably direct someone to our house. (Stops the car at stop sign.) Which way now?
K: That way (wrong way).
P: Okay, you just want to go that way because there are kids playing. (Stops at next side road where we normally turn.) Which way should we go now?
K: That way (straight).
P: Ok. That's a new one. We're going this way?
K: Yeah. We go this way and we, we, we, then we go to McDonald's.
P: (turning to me) If she actually directs me on how to get to McDonald's, you are so completely fired as a parent.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Boo yah

Best new stand on the farmer's market? The pickle guy. Sweet ginger. I didn't realize bread and butter pickles could be a religious experience, but I think I just heard the good news.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Small world

So yeah, after 2 weeks, we figured out today that AKJ's uncle is in my training class at work.

It's Greg. And it came up in kind of a weird, roundabout way. I write up these little scenarios based on live accounts for the trainees and they call each other and role play for practice. Clearly, Joe Schmoe can't be the customer every time, so I cull material from my life. So Jim/Jen Brooks was one of the callers.

So your uncle says, my niece is a Jen Brooks. And I come back with the joke that there's a million of them, one of my friends is Jen and she always had trouble until she got married, in fact, that was one of the determiners for changing her name. She called the clinic and gave her first and last name, they asked her middle name (and I gave your middle name), and there were still enough that they had to ask what street she lived on. So your uncle says, "And what street did she live on?" I didn't know, but we both started to get the idea that we might be talking about the same person. He mentioned his niece had a 2-year-old daughter, I gave him your married name, and we figured it out. But it came up in such a roundabout way, it was so weird. We never would have guessed it.

If I had money


My new bedroom:
Ikea Malm King bed and headboard with pullouts (in black-brown):


With this (and some additional ivory, tan, bronze, and black pillows, tastefully arranged):
















My new fall wardrobe: (and as long as we're dreaming, that chick's body too)






























And the purse from the other day, of course.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

And so it begins

My husband and I agree that the National Conventions, both RNC and DNC, are more like theater than politics. Scripted, rehearsed, staged. Theater. They are more about pumping up the party and introducing people than they are about issues, stances, or specifics.

So yeah, we watched the RNC and Palin's and McCain's speeches, as apparently everyone else did - the ratings for Palin's speech were higher than the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. She was such an unknown, such a wild card, that we all wanted to check her out. And she spoke well, I will be the first to give her that.

But it's one thing to deliver a written speech and quite another to face the nation during debates, live visits, and meet and greets where all of the candidates will have to speak off the cuff. They will have to be knowledgeable about issues and be prepared to back up their positions when challenged. In fact, they'll actually have to take a stand on issues, not just spit out sound bites.

And that goes for both parties. I'm tough on the Republicans, but Democrats do the same thing. Most politicians do. If it can't be played in a 20-second clip on the news, it apparently is not worth uttering.

Here is my wish - that someone would actually list out the stances of each candidate, complete with pros and cons, without judgment or favor. Tell me clearly that when McCain says he is "for education", he means he supports school vouchers, and what the pros and cons are of the program. When Obama says he is "for education," what does that mean? More money? Smaller class sizes? French fries for lunch? JUST TELL ME.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Random Thoughts

So here I am, watching the RNC and Gov. Palin. I can't believe she just used her 4-month old son with Down Syndrome as a way to curry votes. Yack. They say she is the first VP nom in a long time, however, who can field-dress a moose.

Bought some jammies for winter. Mmmm, soft cotton sweatpants jammies.

Egad, did she just compare herself to Harry Truman?

I saw a purse today that I really liked, but oof, it was $150. But it was in a gorgeous chocolate brown and the leather was like butter.

I think I'm going to start counting the buzz words - power broker (bad), hockey mom (good), reformer (good), lobbyists (bad), energy independence (good)...

Friday, August 15, 2008

I'm not trapped under anything heavy

Hey kids. Some of you may have expressed a bit of concern over my long absence, so let me fill you in. But very quickly, as we are leaving on vacation tomorrow.

My parents were in town for a week, and they came a few days early because of an unexpected funeral (aren't they all?) for my grandmother's sister. If anyone's counting, that's 4 siblings in 18 months. As my boss so eloquently put it, "I'd be nervous if I was one of the ones left."

And we have spent this last week getting ready for our vacation. Plus, I have been bad about taking my meds on the weekends, so I've been super tired. But we're getting back on track and I swear to god I'm getting a massage, or at least a facial, this coming week.

Oh, and of course, we're bringing the laptop so if I have wi-fi, maybe I can blog out some of the 400 posts I have in my head from the last 3 weeks.

Ta ta!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Let there be light

So Pants spent the last 2 days trying to fix Meimei's ceiling fan so the electrical box was strong enough to hold it. He finally got it up and put together tonight.

Upon surveying the scene, there was insulation everywhere. On every surface. See, we have blown-in insulation, not the nifty roll-out blankets. And it has been ungodly hot, so Pants had the fan on in there. And as the insulation fell out of the ceiling in buckets, it was nicely spread across the entire room by the fan. Yay.

So I vacuumed every surface in the entire room. Changed the sheets. Did everything I could to get up all the fiberglass before Meimei went to bed. I hope she doesn't wake up itchy.

Oh, and I found out that the damn thing only takes those stupid little candle bulbs. Grrr.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I am so over...

Heidi and Spencer. Speidi. I don't even watch the Hills, but I can't seem to avoid them.

And what are they doing now? Practicing at the firing range. And why is that, Spencer? So when we go to Iraq to entertain the troops, we can be prepared if something goes down and they throw us a gun. Which is about the dumbest thing I've ever heard - like the USO tour gets attacked all the time and they just throw guns at quasi-celebrities to start shooting. Yeah, I bet that's what happens in Iraq. Those wacky military-types, just flying by the seat of their pants.

Another Spencer gem? He wants to adopt a baby from Africa and name it Dunk. You know, for when he plays basketball. I can only hope the home study would exclude them from adoption for being prejudiced idiots.

Scarily close




What Your Fridge Says About You



You aren't greedy, but you don't really deprive yourself either. You strike a good balance with the stuff you buy.



You are not careful with your money. In fact, you rarely think about how much you are spending.



You don't tend to be a very adventurous person, but you do surprise everyone now and then. You have a bit of a wild side.



You try to be responsible, but you don't always succeed. Your heart is in the right place though.



You are likely to be married - and very busy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Random Thoughts

My vampire name is Opal of the Vile.

I have decided that my future tattoo is a phoenix.

I am on a Target diet again. Starting...... now.

And not starting this afternoon because the best $20 I ever spent was on the tower fan I bought this evening. I'm actually almost cold now.

I have to start bringing lunch to work and cooking at home. I want to involve the kids in cooking - maybe on the weekend and freezing food again? It was just so... tasteless.

My drag queen name is Donna Sommersault.

Where is the best place to get a tattoo? I don't want it on my back, I won't be able to see it. Stomach is out, I would eventually like to shrink that a bit. And god forbid it grows.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

You might be a redneck if...

...you're having a family reunion because your uncle just got out of prison.

...you can count on one hand the number of people there with all of their teeth.

...there's no beer at the picnic because we don't need anyone back in prison.

...one of the cousins didn't really feel the need to bring shoes.

...your 19-year-old cousin brought her boyfriend. Her dad's 37-year-old boss.

...the cousin who drove up from Tampa had to make a stop in Kentucky to retrieve his mother's belongings from a relationship that went sour a few years ago.

So yeah, we went to a family reunion this weekend in SD, and sadly, all of those things and more are true.

It was the kids's first real road trip at 5 hours one way. We thought we were being really smart by feeding them dinner at home Friday, wearing them down a little, packing up, and leaving at bedtime with them in jammies. Meimei dropped off right away and slept for about 90 minutes, but Kitten didn't. She kept thinking this was the adventure and we better get on with it, because it was getting late and she was getting tired and she had to get home to bed. After 2 screaming fits, they both finally dropped off about an hour from the hotel. So did I.

The hotel was another adventure. The kids don't sleep with us and Meimei doesn't sleep in a bed, plus they had just had an hour nap and were a bit restless. Kitten slept with Pants, but was apparently plastered to him all night. He had to get up and go around to the other side of the bed and start over. Meimei wanted to sleep on a pillow, but couldn't figure it out. She ended up sprawled on her stomach at the end of the bed. I moved at some point in the middle of the night and must have startled her because she flipped out and flew off the bed, cracking her head on the wall on the way down.

The drive home Saturday night was more of the same. We all slept through SD and woke up when we hit MN, after which we were all awake for the remainder of the journey. We stopped at the McDs in Morris and I drove thereafter, being more familiar with the roads. You will be happy to know the McDs is fine, the guy who raises bison and emu is still there, and the stretch between Glenwood and Sauk Center is still just as desolate. We got home about 11:30 and the kids went to bed. They got up this morning at 10.

So the first road trip was a little bumpy, but not bad. I wouldn't have missed the reunion for anything. One of the cousins on my grandma's side brought all of the old photo albums from grandma's sisters and I actually got to see my grandparents's wedding photos. Never saw them before. And seeing the relations I haven't seen in 20 years is fairly priceless.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Moving up the list

I realized this morning that the upstairs bathroom remodel needs to move up the list.

It's not the green sink, tub, and toilet that bother me, the leaks, the flecked laminate countertop, or the 6 gallon flush (although we've been meaning to fix that anyway).

It's because this morning I brushed my teeth while Kitten stood on a stool and brushed hers and Meimei stood at my leg begging to brush hers too. This is cute today, but will be hell in the coming months and years.

I wish this meant just tearing out the vanity and having a plumber come and split the pipes and hook up two sinks instead of one. If it was this easy, I would plan it as a weekend project. Like this month.

But no. The floor is tiled up to the vanity but not under. And the wall is tiled about 4 feet up with a cutout over the sink (we assume for the mirror). So tearing out the vanity will at least leave a hole in the floor tile, if not the wall as well, although we don't know. The space involved means we have to either do something very creative, put in two small pedestal sinks, or recreate this look from Ikea (which I love).

To work with the space we have means we have to either live with the ugly, uneven floor (and possibly wall) or redo all the tile.

I need to win the lottery.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Glad I left early

All apologies to Sam Brody and his parents, as well as the ever-fabulous hosts Puck and Pusher, but I almost missed the impromptu swim.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Today's projects

Brought load of crap to MIL's for future garage sale. Took new load of crap home from her friend's stash.

Began installation of new ceiling fan in Meimei's room. Could not complete installation, as electrical box is not nearly stable enough to take the weight, much less activate the fan blades. Bummer dude. Now there is no light in her room.

Put up 2 shelves in Meimei's room, got decorative stuff off dresser, put up a shoe organizer/bag thingy (shortened with scissors) in closet for additional storage.

Verdict on Meimei's room: going to hardware store tomorrow to pick up stabilization kits (stabilizing the fan in Kitten's room too), brackets for the curtain rod to hang her valance, maybe a new roller shade instead of the current plastic blinds, and a couple of plant hangers to rehang her balloon lamp.

Put together trove of goods for Sam Brody's enjoyment.

Just got called away to help Pants move the old grill down off the deck and move our grill up. More trash left by previous owners. Blah.

Still left do:
Clean entryway so I can get my new (old) cabinet in.
Change cat litter. Refill food and change water.
Clean bathroom.
Load of dishes.

Gah. Better get going.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday I took money matters in hand, paid the bills, made some phone calls to straighten out our cell and satellite accounts, and figured out how to pay off a bill and drop our monthly bill load $200/month.


OMG. Today at work, things were still a bit dicey, but this evening. My, this evening, how different things have been. The girls and I cleaned Meimei's room, set up her toddler bed (formerly Kitten's toddler bed) and put the sheets on, moved the bench out of her room to give her more play room, put all the toys away in her toy organizer thingy, and started on the closet and dresser organization. She's still in her crib for now, but her room was really our huge project for this weekend. Now we're about 40% done - on the first evening.

And the kids did better this evening, probably because I was nicer to them. Kitten went to bed better than she has in weeks. Meimei let me put her jammies on and change her without a fit.

Did I mention her room got cleaned?

And now I'm about to clean up the entryway. Like I've been planning for 3 weeks. And put the Low-e film purchased last weekend on the patio doors.

Hmmm. Think the depression might have been about the money? Yep. It's not completely done yet, but I feel much better.

Moral of the story? Grab the reins, chica. Grab the reins.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The plants I fell in love with

I'm sure by now you know that Pusher and I took the girlies to the Arboretum yesterday, and that inevitably I would fall in love with some items for my yard. The top contenders:


First, the Dr. Seuss garden contenders.

To the left here, we have Allium Sativum, or "Italian Early" Garlic. Fun, curly, and edible!




And we also have an onion, Allium coruleum.

I have a couple of flower bulbs in mind, too:

Eucomis comosa
Pineapple Lily
(not my photo)

and Crown Imperial
(also not my photo)


And then there's some of the burgundy/red group for the front:
Physocarpus opulifolus
Ninebark - Summer Wine
Which is quite a bit deeper burgundy
than this picture makes it look.










Foeniculum vulgare
Bronze Fennel
Gorgeous and edible


And the crowning glory:

Cotinus coggygria - Smokebush

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Moving right along

We spent much of today's lovely afternoon out in the garden -

Planted 2 new hibiscus bushes, which better be red when they open. Also, not sure if variety purchased is perennial, but got them for $4 each.

Purchased new pack of Rosemary seeds to replace seeds that never came up, only to have Pants show up from Cub with a lovely (large!) rosemary bush that we potted so we can pull it in for the winter. You know I loves me some fresh rosemary.

Discussed why 2 Astilbe are extremely happy and 2 are still a bit stunted. Pants wondered if location or soil were to blame, but plants are all about 4-5 inches apart. I'm not sure 4 inches in space would make the 8 inch height difference. I calmly reminded Pants that these plant survived the winter in tiny plastic pots set on top of dirt and perhaps those two got a harsher freezer burn and just need some more time.

Also discussed size of Chokeberry bush (current and eventual) and whether it was growing enough. Reminded Pants that bush was sticks just a month ago and now has lovely new branches and tons of leaves. Also survived winter and is doing well, considering.

We then watched the very wimpy leftover-from-previous-owners shepherd's hooks lean over and very gently place one of my gorgeous cast iron hanging pots on the ground. It was somewhat amusing and those hooks were ugly as sin anyway. Went out and got me a heavy-duty 4-prong hook. Ha HA! (P.S. - got hanging pots at Fleet Farm last year, end of season for $5 each and got the hook on clearance today too!)

When we get the new hook up and figure out what to do with the rosemary pot for now, I will post before and after pics.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Humorous Pictures
more cat pictures

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I hate balloons.

Just put the kids to bed, but they are screaming because I wouldn't let them bring the balloons they got at dinner. I was completely tense the entire ride home thinking Meimei would pop hers any second. I think they may meet a grim fate this evening in the garage. Damn restaurants that think it's a great idea to give out balloons. I hate you all!

In other news, I have an external ear infection (aka Swimmer's Ear) which apparently is accompanied by horrific vertigo. I got ear drops today, but not soon enough to avoid having to leave work early today because I couldn't string together a coherent thought besides, "Please, stop the spinning." Hoping tomorrow is better after 2 more doses of crap-killer.

Pants's truck was broken into and his satellite radio was stolen. And by "broken into," I mean he left it unlocked in our driveway. Still ballsy to come right up to our door and take it, but yeah, it was open. Guess we'll keep the cars locked from now on.

I think I figured out today, being at home in the afternoon, why it seems so stinking hot in here in the evenings. We were thinking the air was going kaput, which would seriously suck, but now I think it's just a combination of our poor insulation and windows, the massive amounts of heat coming in the patio door and the bay window in the afternoon, and setting the thermostat too high during the day and not giving it enough time to cool down for the evening. I'm going to adjust the thermostat settings and look into some low-e film on the patio door and windows and see if that helps. We already bought another ceiling fan for Meimei's room to keep her cooler at night (Kitten has one that runs almost constantly) and I may get a stand fan for the living room. Hopefully that will get us through another summer on the old unit.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

cat
more cat pictures

Monday, June 23, 2008

And... we're done.

Enough with the pity party. Time to get moving.

What's up with that?

So yeah, I've been flaking out again. My depression is about the worst it's been since before the kids were born, even though I'm on 3x the Zoloft. Can't get moving, can't get motivated, can't seem to get going.

Possible causes:
  • IUD - mine is coated with hormones, which was probably a rash decision considering I could not handle the hormones in the pill. But research shows hormones are negligible. Conclusion: probably not.
  • I'm a bit short on funds - daycare costs are killing us. We can't live on our budget - or won't. We don't seem to be able to do what's necessary to live on our (very adequate) incomes. There is something very wrong to say I'm broke while I type this on my laptop connected to my high-speed internet, sitting in front of my BFTV watching cable. Sounds a bit like whining. Conclusion: Most likely.
  • My business - there are things I have to do with my business that personally make me uncomfortable, and it's not at all about the sex. I know I can actually do them (pretty sure they won't kill me) - it's just a matter of getting off my ass and doing them. I've really had a crisis of faith this month on this new business and I've wanted to quit about every other minute. But, for better or worse, I'm in it too far to quit so I will persevere through the end of the year and then make a decision going forward. Conclusion: Most Likely a side effect.
I think I need to find my counselor for a tune up. I'm trying to be consistent about taking my meds, but my auto-refill proves I'm not doing well.