Friday, January 27, 2006

A death

A death in the family has pulled me away from the blogging world for some days now. Husband's father died unexpectedly while in the hospital about...was it 4 days ago? It's all kind of a blur right now, but I think that's right. Husband and his brother are alright--alternately sad that they weren't with him when he died and stressed about the vast amount of work ahead of them as they attempt to get all his affairs in order, the house packed, a service planned, etc. Once we return home I'll be back on a normal schedule and can post more--though we ARE inheriting a rather high-maintenance miniature Schnauzer and even the prospect of having any time is up in the air right now. In the meantime, though, there are more important things to do on this computer besides blogging, as much as I might miss it at the moment.

Until later, y'all!

Monday, January 23, 2006

No rest for the project-ed

Is there an adjective form for having many projects? You know, like "projectfull," "projectissimo," or some such? I can't think of it if there is, but suffice it to say that I am full of projects lately. Or full of ideas for projects. (I have Aries rising, don't'cha know.) It's a lively state of mind that I frequently allow myself to indulge in, but the problem lately is that I can't get to sleep. When I posted last night about Bean screaming and keeping me awake? She eventually quit around 3:15, but I couldn't fall asleep again til well after 4:00 for thinking about all my projects. Then this morning when she went down for a nap, I tried to go down for one, too, but was unsuccessful because my brain was just revving through all these different project options.

It all started with my trying to come up with ways to make a little cash from home. As some of you will recall, I was soliciting ideas from the blogging world (some of which were quite interesting, by the way). My regular, helpful readers who no doubt had only my best interests and wallet in mind, seemed mostly to recommend that I steer well clear of any idea that included anything crafty I might want to sell. I thought to myself, "This is probably good advice. Everybody and their sister is doing something crafty these days and thinking they can make a buck off it. Best not to go there." But what's been keeping me up nights and naptimes, whirling around so busily in my head? Ideas for lucrative crafts, of course!

But wait, just listen to this! Okay, are you ready? Hand-made rag rugs in bright, interesting, mod colors! C'mon, wouldn't you like one of these hand-made rag rugs if you saw one and it wasn't too expensive? It would be washable! It would be in a color palette that would work well in your kids' rooms! No? Oh, all right...

Well, then how about funny little misshapen creatures made out of retro-looking calico prints?! They'd have funny little legs and arms and knotted fabric hair, plus child-proof button eyes, and smiles and butt cracks sewed on with embroidery floss! Wouldn't that be cute, but still fun and you'd be buying them for your kids but really you'd kinda want to keep them for yourself?! Huh? Huh?! No? Jeez, alright already. No crafts.

But RGLHM suggested a business where I advertise my baking services to the parents at Sister's school for things like potlucks and class snacks, birthday parties and the like. Since I've decided the local catering job isn't for me, this is probably the most doable idea I received and I may give it some more thought. It is a field I know well, after all.

But it still isn't as much fun as crafts, dammit!

You suck, Dr. Ferber!

Can I just say that this isn't the first time I've tried to "train" a baby to lay off the nighttime nursing? I am no wuss when it comes to trying to mold a baby to my will. I understand that some crying is involved when trying to get a very little one convinced that at 21 pounds she is quite plump enough to go most of the night--from 10:30 p.m. til 5 a.m.--without nursing , dammit. Good ol' Ferberization worked for my first girl. Just a few nights of crying in her crib while we went in to reassure her that everything was o.k., we hadn't disappeared, we still loved her, etc, and she was good from then on. (Mostly.)

But THIS baby! THIS BABY! It's been an hour.and.a.half now of screaming and falling asleep, waking, me checking on her, screaming, then falling asleep. Is this the first night of this you ask? Oh, no. This is going on a week now, folks.

Screw you, Ferber.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Divided heart

Before I had Bean 9 months ago I wondered if there was any way I could love another baby as much as I loved Sister. I just couldn't imagine it, though I knew that other mothers wondered this same thing and that their answer was always yes afterwards.

Last night at the Secret Ranch, we were all lying on our kitchen floor after dinner, having our customary evening romp and love-fest. Husband was holding Sister as if she were a baby and tickling her, making her shriek. I was lounging on the linoleum, helping Bean do her latest favorite thing, which is to stand up, let go of me, and stand unsupported for some seconds before plopping back on her butt, only to repeat the sequence again and again. I could hardly tear my eyes from little Bean and her sweet, fat, pink cheeks. She could hardly tear her eyes from me either, despite the fascination of a shrieking Sister next to her on the floor. I would periodically shift my gaze to Sister when I felt her looking at me, but my natural inclination was just to stare at my second baby, and it was mutual.

I have completely fallen for Bean.

I now worry about Sister, that I'm not loving her enough, or that she feels that much worse when she's being reprimanded or reminded of the house rules when I then turn around and continue chatting sweetly at the baby. I worry especially because Sister spends a fair amount of time with her dad and his parents at their house. She's always the center of attention there because there are no other children, and in fact only one other grandchild who isn't there nearly as frequently. It's nice that she has this but I feel like when she returns here she's missed a lot with us and, what's more, that she is most decidedly NOT the center of things anymore. The fact that her life is so divided I think is even more obvious to her now that there's another child who DOESN'T leave here most weekends like she does. I try to make the transition as smooth as I can for her, but it's hard to manage sometimes.

I suppose there's no real fix to this since Sister's schedule isn't changing in the near future. I still need to lavish the young Bean with as much love and attention as I can manage. I can't show favoritism to either of them. Bean will likely be fine, though she'll go through a period of wondering why Sister has to leave, will be sad about it sometimes, will wonder why she can't go, too. I'm afraid that Sister won't have it so easy.

You know, down there

Just curious--what have all you parents out there taught your little ones to call their private little parts? I have a friend who has taught her daughter to call it her D.T., for "down there." I had my 7-1/2 year old call it her 'gina based on the advice of a midwife friend of mine. I thought it was a good name--not too cute, not too difficult, and not too far off the mark either. Anyone else out there got any winners? I'd be very curious about boys, too, since I may end up having one next. Just chime right in, everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Just ask

Who said, "Ask and you shall receive"? Was that in the Bible? Was it out of some old movie? I don't know where it comes from, but I've always believed in it. Which is why when I put the question out there of how to make a little extra income, and this morning I get a call from the owner of a local catering company asking me to fill in for their recently departed pastry chef, I am inclined to pay attention. I had wanted to completely burn the bridge back to that line of work after leaving my last baking job, but when the Universe is offering me a solution to my problem should I accept it? Maybe. I'm going to talk to this woman on Saturday to find out more details. It might work out with a catering company, actually. No regular schedule to worry about, plenty of profit margin to spread around. Hmmm...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Husband informed me over the weekend that we REALLY need to get our financial house in order. He's talking debt consolidation, home equity lines of credit, all that sort of stuff. I'm down with it. I'm happy to be thrifty while I'm staying at home with the kids. We'll sit down and finally draw up a budget soon, I'm sure (though we've been promising to do this for a couple of years now and haven't...). In the meantime, I'm on the hunt for some income-generating things I can do at home. Any of you out there have any ideas? Husband has suggested that I sell freshly-worn panties on Ebay, but I don't think he realizes the extent to which I have gone over to the granny-pantie dark side. Surely no perv out there wants my slightly soiled Hanes Her Way. (Do they...?)

No, folks, I had something more like hand-made baby blankets in mind. A friend and I are tossing around the idea of actually starting up a little cottage company to do this as a matter of fact. I'm considering putting my precious collection of 1940's era vintage dresses up for auction, though some part of me thinks I just might still wear them again one day. When I'm not nursing. And when I can afford dry-cleaning on a regular basis. And when lolling around on the floor with a baby or young child isn't on the day's agenda. And when glitter glue is a thing of the past. Maybe then...

Any suggestions, oh resourceful ones?

Oh, dear....

Am I the only one having trouble with blogger today? I can't seem to fix the formatting on that previous post. Sorry it's so whack to read. Maybe I'll try again later with a new post.

Monday, January 16, 2006

And now for something a little less controversial

Time to humble myself a little here, folks. At my worst I am opinionated, a control freak, argumentative, an insufferable know-it-all, and stubborn as hell. At her worst, so is Sister. Guess what--this means there are days when we butt heads about EVERYTHING, and the only solution seems to be to leave each other alone. Otherwise, the least thing out of either of our mouths results in an annoying, argumentative exchange. Picture yourself as a kid on the playground at recess, unable to agree with another kid: "Yeah-huh!" "Nuh-uh!" "Yeah-huh!" "Nuh-uh!" It's kinda like that.

What's that you say? But I'm not a kid, I'm the grown-up mama? Yes, yes, I know that. Which is why I'm coming to all of you parents out there for help. I want to have a nicer, more...I don't know, motherly relationship with Sister. I don't want her to feel downtrodden and persecuted, which is how she looks sometimes after one of our bad days. I do know that you're supposed to "choose your battles," and "act like the grown-up." These are things I tell myself all the time. But can someone out there tell me how you're actually supposed to DO that? Do I just need to count to 10 each time Sister says something that's designed to jerk my chain, or that's just for the sake of argument? Please, lay some advice on me, blogging parenting experts! And hopefully something other than saying, "Because I said so! Now will you just.stop.arguing?" (I've tried that. It doesn't work.)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Almost cocktail hour...

This is the first day I've had in some time where I felt like my old self again. Must've been the fact that Bean didn't nurse last night til 6 a.m., and then fell back asleep til 7:45! This means that I got 9 nearly-solid hours of sleep, y'all, and guilt-free, too, since Husband did the same. Today I was cheerful, had brainstorms while scrubbing the floor, had a lovely visit from Mommygoth and Miss K, played patiently all day with the baby, joked with my dear spouse, and sang aloud to music--in short, all the things that mean I'm a normal woman after all and not some dried up, ol' shrew mama.

Which reminds me of my post yesterday, when I was in the most wretchedly bitchy mood and happened to mention birthday sex for Husband's birthday. This seemed to strike a chord, I think, since some of you ladies out there began commiserating immediately about obligatory birthday sex. I ended up feeling kinda bad about it and now want to clarify: I actually like sex with Husband. Now, I must admit that since Bean was born 9 months ago things have sort of fallen off in that area. This is, of course, just because of the double whammy of sleep-deprivation and nursing hormones riding herd on my sex drive--I'll bet all you mamas out there know how that works. My assumption is that once I quit nursing and Bean is regularly sleeping through the night I'll be back to my sassy self in that department, too. I'm looking forward to it because it does bother me that most of the time I just couldn't care less about sex. I mean we do it, but if given a choice that wouldn't hurt anyone's feelings I'd probably try to catch up on my sleep.

But enough qualifying, I think. I just wanted to make clear that I'm not that old yet and wanted to go on record as saying that I am in fact quite fond of Husband. Amazed at my good luck in finding him (again) even. There.

Hopefully that wasn't too much to spill out here on the blogosphere. If it was just you ladies that I already know about that'd be o.k., but I'm pretty sure that a couple of Husband's friends like to read my blog and tease him about its content sometimes. Oh well. I'll leave it. Maybe they'll be secretly jealous and keep their damn mouths shut for once.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Do Yeerks control my brain?

A funny incident with Sister this morning:

Sister: Mama, the beginning of this Animorphs book is really good! It's a little bit scary and a little bit good. It's about these aliens called Yeerks that are really grey slugs.
Me: Oh, yeah? What do they do?
Sister: They crawl in through your ear canal and get into your brain and then they can control you and you can't do anything. You can feel they're there, but you can only move if they let you, and they make you talk. And they can look at all your secrets!
Me: Gross! Grey slugs that look at your secrets? That sounds horrible!
Sister: (long pause) What if someone you loved was really controlled by a Yeerk...? (uneasy silence) But I know that Yeerks aren't really real. (another long pause) I know YOU'RE not a Yeerk.
Me: (smiling benevolently) Of course not, honey.

But damn if I don't feel like a Yeerk IS controlling me sometimes. I mean, the stuff that comes out of my mouth when I've somehow gotten up on the wrong side of the bed like I did this morning...! I feel like a SUCH a bitch mama today. And it's Husband's birthday, too, so I need to get my birthday game face on before he returns from his long Saturday run in another hour or so. On the agenda today? A breakfast of waffles and bacon, followed by present opening. (Hopefully I'll get a shower in here somewhere. It hasn't happened yet.) Then off to the bowling alley for some birthday bowling. I also need to whip up a birthday chess pie at some point, grocery shop for the requested dinner of polenta with sausages and peppers, make said dinner, take Sister to the Ex's house, and top it all off with birthday sex. Hopefully I'll be cheerful enough by then to be inspired and at least a little creative at it, no mean feat with these lactation hormones squelching my general interest in sex these days into near-oblivion. I've gotta snap out of this...

Friday, January 13, 2006

International De-Lurking Week

Maybe all you more experienced bloggers knew this already, but I just found this out: It's International De-lurking Week! Thanks to Danigirl for pointing this out to me, via Paper Napkin. I had no idea. I may not get a whole lotta comments like SOME people I know, but I know you're all out there. I have a site meter, y'all! I can tell you've been here! So please leave a comment and say hello. This means you, too, my non-blogging friends who are now caught up on my life on a daily basis while I still don't know what the hell is going on in yours because you're too busy to call or email! And you, too, friends of my husband who like to tease him with tidbits from my blog since he refuses to read it! Did that hurt? Well, consider yourself un-stung if you give me a little electronic hello there already.

And by the way, I'm going to leave this post at the top of my blog all week to prompt you. Scroll down for more of-the-minute posts as the week progresses.

A few of her favorite things

Sister showed me something in her notebook yesterday. It was a list of her "Favorate things."

  1. Brownies
  2. Jaguars
  3. World peace
  4. Horses
  5. Cats
  6. Earth
  7. Snakes
  8. Sharks
  9. Mom
  10. Rachael
  11. Jewels
  12. Stamps
  13. Myself
  14. Calvin and Hobbes
  15. Marbles
  16. Bottle caps
  17. Hot dogs
  18. Blankets
  19. Cheetahs
  20. Crayons
Glad I made the list somewhere. I need to give this child a blog!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Learning a new trick

The highlight of my day yesterday was making it to the coffee shop and being able to sit down for 15 peaceful minutes to drink an iced mocha while Bean played with a new toy I'd bought for the occasion. (Total cost of peace was about $1.30 per minute, by the way--not something we can afford everyday.) This morning, I took a much-needed nap after Bean uncharacteristically woke 3 or 4 times last night. I slept til almost 11:00. Since I pick Sister up from school at 2:30, this leaves me a scant few hours today in which to get out of the house and feel like the day isn't a total waste. Not that spending time at home with my sweet baby is a total waste! I'm grateful and happy to do it. But sometimes my new stay-at-home life feels a little...maybe unchallenging intellectually?

Which is why I'm happy to say that as of next week I'll be enrolled in the Master Gardener program! For those of you who don't know, this is a national program administered through county extension offices, and in our particular county the program is 13 weeks of classes on botany, landscape plants, plant diseases, all that sort of stuff. To me the syllabus looks pretty challenging, and you do have to apply to particpate, so I don't think they accept just any ol' schmuck. I'm feeling both flattered that I've been accepted and excited that I'll be able to leave the house a few hours a week BABY-FREE, plus be learning more about one of my interests on top of that! It's not starting a moment to soon either, let me tell ya. Wish me luck, y'all!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Concerned parent or just a pain in the ass?

While going through Sister's backpack yesterday after school, I happened to pull out an activity sheet given to her by the librarian--oops! I mean "media specialist"--at her school. At the very top was the heading "Media Center Scavengar Hunt." A spelling error on a library work assignment?! Fer chrissakes. I look further down the sheet and read the question, "In which Nonfiction section did you find it in?" This question was written the same way not once, but three times. She almost got the prepositional usage right and then had to go ahead and let that participle dangle there anyway, didn't she? Damn it. This reminds me of Sister's teacher last year who I noticed spelled "canteloupe" incorrectly on her chalkboard for God and everybody to see during a lesson on fruits and vegetables. That's a tough one for many people, so I let it slide. But this library work sheet bugs me. I really shouldn't mention it though, huh? I mean, doing so is just going to piss someone off. No one in our school is going to appreciate me being the spelling and grammar police, even if they are charged with the education of my daughter IN THE TOP SCHOOL DISTRICT IN THE STATE and presumably want to be teaching correct information. (And believe me, I know the REAL grammar hounds of you out there could probably find a bajillion errors in my prose, most probably in my comma usage.) But a spelling error right there on top of the frickin' assignment...!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Stupid identity issues

You know, I used to be a little cool before I became a mama. Our little Southern college town of Chapel Hill, NC has quite a renowned local music scene, and I was once involved in it, going to shows and keeping up with local bands and such. That's been nearly a decade ago, though. In fact, whenever I look at the musical calendar of any local clubs now I generally don't recognize ANY band unless it's an old one, or has some national fame. But here's an incident to warm the cockles of my ex-kinda-cool-girl's heart.

A friend of ours gave us a great mix CD for Christmas that included many local bands on it and we loved it. I thought I'd try branching out with some new hometown CD's and maybe get a little something for Husband's birthday while I was at it. This meant braving the local, uber-cool record store yesterday (warning to those of you at work: that link is noisy), something I haven't done in years. So I go in with Bean in arms, my friend's CD playlist safely tucked in my purse in case I forget the bands I liked best. I peruse very self-consciously, chatting to Bean, who is very interested in this new venue, as I scan the racks. I find the CD's I'm looking for and bring them to the counter where stands a woman my age, MUCH cooler than me. But you know, folks, she's actually friendly! And the best thing of all? As she's ringing up my purchases, she looks at Bean and coos, "Is this your Flaming Lips CD? Huh? Huh? Little cutie..." Bean grins at her.

I might go there again next week.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Getting around to resolutions

Yes, I AM feeling better today, thanks. And this despite the fact that I got up with the baby this morning so that Husband could get a measly 10 MINUTES of extra sleep. I mean, I'll get up with her if you need to sleep in, but make it worth my time and sleep another hour, please! Really, though, I shouldn't complain. This is a man who almost always gets up with Bean even though he's the one who goes to work in the real world everyday and doesn't have 2 chances during the day for additional napping. Make me shut up already.

So I'm finally going to break down and make some other New Year's resolutions. Things I really should do just keep nipping at my brain like little goldfish, so I should just write them down and make myself do them. These nagging little things are:

  1. Stop biting my nails again! I managed to stop for a year, but have started again for some reason. I feel like some neurotic little rodent, eating its own paws.
  2. Start exercising again! I've officially lost even the last few pounds of my pregnancy weight, but I have no muscle tone whatsoever and still look oddly lumpy in my clothes. The whole fat weighs less than muscle and therefore takes up more space phenomenon is at work on my ass and thighs at the moment.
  3. Go ahead and volunteer to lead Sister's Brownie troop next year. She'll be thrilled, and I could really probably use a new perspective on Sister--one where she can make decisions on her own, be responsible for herself, get along well with others, that sort of thing.
  4. Quit whining and just clean the bathrooms once in awhile already! I loathe cleaning the house, and the bathrooms in particular. But I need to just buck up and accept that being a stay-at-home mom means that the housework logically falls most heavily on me. I DO have the time. Here I sit, after all, with plenty of time for blogging.
  5. Keep my old-fashioned paper-and-pen journal in addition to blogging. The 2 are not the same, though I initially thought they would be.
  6. Get more sleep. Go to bed closer to 10:00 rather than 11:00 or 12:00. That way, I might have more energy for sex and conversations with my all-suffering spouse, and I would certainly be less grumpy and less prone to getting sick.
O.k., there, done. Boring as hell, I'm sure, for all those of you who did this like 2 weeks ago. But if I don't write them down I won't do them and it won't be enough to just think idly about this stuff.

Now, off to do some abdominal crunches or something.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

My soapbox: a long-winded diatribe on manners

Well, the girls' night out last night was fun but apparently I'm pathetic as far as party-going goes anymore. I made it as late as 10:30 before my one beer did me in and I had to peel myself up from my chair and stumble home in exhaustion. Sad, huh? And did I mention that we hadn't even made it out the door to the actual bar yet? Doubly sad. Truthfully, I'm maybe a tad wiped out still from the holidays and the stomach virus and a bad cold on top of that. I feel a wee bit run down lately. My body's even toying with the idea of throwing another bout of mastitis my way, I think. I've got painful lumps cropping up in my left breast again. Hopefully, nothing will come of it.

But today was pleasant, despite my being a little weary. I went to another friend's house for lunch and some more much-needed grown-up female conversation. She's a mother of 2 very cute, bilingual kids that Bean enjoyed sharing toys with, plus she made me a rockin' tuna noodle casserole that was apparently just what I was craving. That was very nice indeed.

Watching this friend interact with her children brought to mind the whole topic of teaching manners to kids in these modern times, somthing I've been meaning to post about for some time. This friend of mine is quite adamant that her kids treat grown-ups with respect--acknowledging when they arrive at the house, calling them Mr. or Mrs. What-have-you, saying yes please and no thank you and the like. This makes them quite charming and pleasant to be around and, lest you suspect otherwise, they aren't the least bit parrot-like, or creepy little robot kids. They're just good, nice kids. This is the kind of thing I've learned not to take for granted in the hyper-liberal little college town where we live. I've run into more than a few kids around here whose behaviour has practically made my jaw drop. I'm going to go out on a limb here and just say what I think about certain incidents I've witnessed: saying loudly that food someone puts on your plate at a friend's house is "icky" is not okay. Bursting into the middle of someone else's conversation on the phone is rude and annoying. Ignoring someone speaking directly to you in a social setting is not acceptable unless MAYBE you're under 2 and extremely shy. (I know THAT'LL piss someone off, so just shoot me now.) Allowing your child to sing rude songs at the top of her lungs about how boring the new soccer coach is at soccer practice? Just atrocious. A child who shoves past other people while going through a doorway? God-awful. These are all behaviours I've seen in our little town where I've come to understand that manners are somehow regarded as oppressively right-wing. Or maybe it's that working parents have such little time with their kids that they don't want to spend it playing the heavy, I don't know. But I frankly find it appalling.

Now, I'm as liberal as most of the next folks in this town. I also know that mannerly behaviour is basically false in that it's intended to curb natural inclinations and instincts so as to put others at ease. But, folks, I guess I just don't understand why one child's natural-ness has to take precedence over someone else's feelings or even personal safety in some cases. And the issue of respect for others older than you--why is it no longer common to teach our kids to call adults Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so anymore? Does it make adults seem less friendly in some way? And if so, is that a bad thing? I mean, I'm not advocating hostility or even extreme formality with kids, but on the other hand it seems like grown-ups are much more likely to be treated respectfully if there's a little distance put between them and kids. This is maybe a stretch, but would there maybe be less violence in schools and even on the streets if people had manners drilled into them from an early age? All etiquette is fundamentally, is just acknowledging another's humanity--and I'm not talking about the which-fork-to-use branch here. I guess what it seems to boil down to is that so many adults now seem to want to be a friend to their children, rather than a parent to their children. Someday I'd like to be a friend to my children and a friend to their friends, too. But right now I want to be the grown-up in our relationship, and I want other grown-ups to do the same around my kids. I want my daughers to say, "It's nice to meet you," and "Excuse me," and "No, thank you," and to call you Mrs. Your Name Here until you know them well enough to invite them to call you by your first name somewhere down the road. I feel like I'm doing my children a big favor by teaching them how to treat others respectfully. I'm not crushing their personalities or individuality in the least. Being well-mannered and polite will only help them in the long run when they get to be grown-ups themselves, but the time to learn is right now.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Girls' night out

All day I've been gleefully anticipating my "girls' night out" with friends planned for this evening. Bean is staying home with Husband tonight while I go to a friend's for dinner in honor of another friend's birthday. Then we're heading to a local bar for a drink or 2. I know it'll be fun, and I very seldom get to do this with my girlfriends, but now that's almost time to leave I find myself already missing being at home. Husband's gone to the video store to pick up a movie and I kinda think I'd just like to stay in tonight, much as I love my friends. Maybe I just haven't been seeing enough of my husband lately...

Friday, January 06, 2006

Return to the land of the communicating

Thank God for sweet old Tom, the Time Warner Cable guy! We've had no internet and telephone access for the past couple of days for some mysterious reason, so I've been incommunicado for what feels like way too long. I had NO IDEA how much of an internet addiction I had til it wasn't an option. I mean, what's a stay-at-home mama to do during baby naptime anyway? (And if you say, "Clean the house," I'll slap you. Although, if you'll recall we hired a cleaning service to come in to professionally clean all the barf germs that apparently I missed after we were all sick. They're gone, y'all! The ranch is sparkly clean now, and it was worth every one of the many, many pennies we spent.)

With all the extra time not taken up by the lure of blogs, both mine and others, I have done many old-fashioned things lately. These include:
  • becoming semi-addicted once again to lattes made by baristas at friendly, neighborhood coffeeshops. I'm usually a 2-cups-of-tea kind of girl, but not lately.
  • reading most of "The Endurance," a book of Ernest Shackleton's harrowing Antarctic expedition in 1914-1916. It's been truly riveting, especially because the photos from the trip were published in this book, too, and there are many portraits of capable, fit men with sardonic eyes. Ooh la la!
  • eating my way through most of a 2-pound box of See's chocolates, one of Husband's traditional Christmas gifts to me. Hey, I'm nursing so I NEED those calories! Also, the whole stomach virus thing deprived me of my usual 5 extra holiday pounds, so I'm trying again.
  • doing many crafts with Sister after school. We've glued small backgrounds and tiny, sparkly objects into bottlecaps, put together melty bead creatures, and finally gotten around to that Make-Your-Own-Egyptian-Mummy Kit she's had since last Christmas (complete with jars of plastic viscera topped with unpronouncably-named gods' heads!)
  • cleaned out our large hall closet secretly and gotten rid of such priceless objects as an old corded phone, 2 Easter baskets plus many plastic Easter eggs, an un-stylish battery-operated clock, and a princess movie projector book thing-y. Needless to say, I didn't consult either Sister or Husband before removing these objects to their new thrift shop home. Those 2 are the biggest pack rats ever, I swear.
But I've had my fill of time consuming projects and am very pleased to have now returned to the world of time-draining blog-keeping! Can't wait to get caught up on everyone else's blogs tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

In which we infect many of our friends with the dreaded vomiting virus

So you know how we had friends over on New Year's Day for black-eyed peas and collard greens? Husband just called to tell me--and I'm horribly embarrassed to admit it--that so far, no less than 4 of our friends have come down with the vomitting plague that we were all afflicted with during the past week. I'm mortified, feeling like this is a clear indictment of my housekeeping skills (or lack therof). Oy vey.

On the bright side, Husband has agreed that we need to bring in the professionals. I've scheduled a cleaning service to come in on Friday and give this place a thorough, bleach-y cleaning. In the meantime, we'll just not allow anyone to cross the threshold until our house is cleansed of barfing germs. What a way to celebrate...

Just when I thought it was safe to relax

I woke up feeling much better today, thanks, and so did Bean. I'm feeling so good in fact that it would seem that the scales have been lifted from my eyes and I can clearly see that my house is a sty. I've been a busy mama all morning while Bean has napped. I folded 2 loads of laundry and washed another load! I put together a shoe rack for our closet that has been languishing in its original box since we brought it home a year ago! I've cleaned out the fridge! I've boxed up baby clothes! And last night I even undecorated the Christmas tree and the house! It has been a productive 18 hours indeed.

But I must put the brakes on HARD now 'cause you know what I just remembered? I'm the troop cookie manager for Sister's Brownie troop and the cookie sale training meeting for our troop is TOMORROW! Of course, a presentation given to a group of 7-year olds doesn't have to be that impressive, but it would help if I knew my shit. Like that cookies are $3.50 per box this year instead of $3.00. Like figuring out how to get such young girls to set a sales goal for the troop. Like making sure their frickin' parents know to GET ME THE MONEY ON TIME! NO, I WILL NOT LOAN YOU YOUR BALANCE TIL NEXT WEEK! The Girl Scouts are going to be after your ass if you don't write me that check now, lady. I ain't jokin'.

So off I go to cram for the Girl Scout cookie cause. No doubt you'll hear more about this as events unfold. But I'll say this now, for the second time on this blog--NEVER volunteer to run your daughter's troop cookie sale unless you enjoy playing the heavy to a bunch of grown-ups who should know better.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Wishful thinking

Here is the mood I WISH my baby was in. Bean is miserable today. Perhaps this is because she spent 2 hours awake and screaming last night after I stupidly gave her a decongestant at 11:00 p.m.? Yes, perhaps. I also am miserable for much the same reason, though I have so far managed to avoid screaming myself (narrowly). Husband is off at work and oh, how I envy him today. Being off in the grown-up world doing something--anything!--sounds like bliss.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Cleaning out the gunk

The holidays are officially over for us now at the Sugarmama ranch. Our New Year's Day party is over and done with. We don't even have any left-over black-eyed peas and greens! I feel ready to move back into normal life again--getting up with Sister to get her to school, grocery shopping trips that don't include 10 pounds of sugar and 4 extra pounds of European-style butter, and normal spending habits all 'round. Cheers!

Unlike a lot of bloggers out there, I don't have a huge list of resolutions to post about. I gave up some time ago on using this time of year as an excuse for any sort of real effort at changing my life. And actually, as I mentioned in my post last night, I don't currently WANT to change much about my life. The single thing I'm resolving to do this year is to once and for all find a therapist to help me work through all the rancor I still feel towards my Ex and his mother. I feel like I have no perspective on whether the degree of bitterness I feel towards them is normal, but even if it WERE normal I just don't like having it sort of festering there in me, coloring my interactions with Sister sometimes, and keeping me from sleeping during weeks when the Ex is really jerking my chain. I'd really like to get rid of this, and since it's been 6-1/2 years since the Ex and I were even together it's pretty clear to me that it's not going to go away on its own. On the one hand, I love Sister fiercely, more than anyone on the planet except her little sister, and some part of me reasons that it's natural to be so jealous of someone I love that much. But on the other hand, I don't think anyone quite knows the dark extent that these emotions run to. I sometimes envision it as a big, nasty, glob of black gunk clogging me up. I can't take it anymore, y'all! Must....eliminate...nasty black...emotional gunk! (Wish me luck!)