Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Running numbers

It's been a helluva day. In the last 24 hours, I have gotten up with the baby 5 times over a mysteriously wakeful 2 hours, filled and dumped 12 wheelbarrows' full of mulch from a 20 cubic yard pile newly dumped in our front yard, planted 3 bottlebrush plants, moved dozens of stones into a new border, spent an hour and a half helping Sister with her wretched math homework, purchased 2 hours' worth of landscape design services at a silent auction fundraiser at Sister's school, rung up approximately $4000 worth of sales within half an hour as a volunteer cashier at same, packed one nutritious lunch, and assembled one Colin Powell costume for Sister to wear at her class' "Blacks in Wax" exhibit first thing tomorrow morning.

Yes, I said, "Blacks in Wax."

Fortunately for me, it is now officially wine thirty and time for this mama to sit idle.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The question of work

I talked to a friend on the phone yesterday who casually asked me what kind of work I wanted to do after I was "done" staying home with the girls. The answer is that I have no idea. I've been giving this question a lot of thought lately as I think about the possibility of Husband and I having one more baby. I'm not pregnant yet, but the years slip by so fast now--Bean will be 2 in April!--that it's been on my mind a lot. I feel like I'm already in the home stretch of the tough baby years.

I'm taking a ceramics class on Saturday afternoons now. It's something I've been idly interested in for years, starting back when I took a few ceramic sculpture classes in college. I'm really enjoying learning to throw bowls and cups and vases and the like on a wheel. I have fantasies of continuing with it, maybe eventually teaching little kids. I love to sew and have also enjoyed doing this off and on for years. I love to garden. I love to cook and bake, but I'm pretty sure that I don't want to go back to the professional kitchen.

The thing is maybe I don't ever want to go back to work or have a career again. How about that? Husband has told me that if I wanted to work again, I should go out and get any old job that would make me happy--as a clerk in a plant nursery or the local quilt shop, for example--and not worry about the salary. (Of course he DID tell me this back before he quit his job and started his own company...) It was a shocking prospect at the time and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Why should I be allowed to fuck around at home pursuing hobbies while Husband's out earning all the money? I know I "work" at home, too, but no one's paying me for it. And if I weren't home so much the house wouldn't get so damn messy anyway. If I never had a career again would I regret it? What the hell would I say when people asked me the dreaded "What do you do?" at cocktail parties?

I don't have to decide now, of course, but I'm curious about the rest of you out there. Would any of you out there just not work if it was an option? Maybe a spouse would be supporting you or maybe you'd win the lottery, but however you could swing it, would you quit your job forever? Or not?

And what WOULD you say to people at cocktail parties who ask what you do?

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Another naptime spent in various puttering sorts of activities--taking out the trash and recycling, rearranging the lamps and plants in the living room, putting things on the porch away, scrubbing off the black spots on the pizza stone, and sprinkling columbine seeds in a sliver of earth between the patio stones and the house. (These need cold to germinate and won't emerge for another month.) It's so restorative to be able to just putter sometimes.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Does this blog post make me look fat?

I've been neglecting my blog lately in favor of working in the yard, celebrating the glorious 40 degree weather. Glorious relative to the 18 degrees I woke up to the other day, of course. I know, I know, some of you have it far worse with temps in the negatives and wind chill blah blah blah, but I chose never to move farther north than where I am right now 'cause I like to sweat, dammit. It's good for you.

I have been sweating in the yard lately, lugging around 50# flagstones left in a pile by the landscaper to a new spot as stepping stones from the front door to a side gate. I had to grade the path by hand, too, shovelling great piles of soggy, rich clay to what will be new beds on either side of the path. All that, plus hauling broken chunks of concrete driveway that were left on our property as the first course of "stone" in a stone path border. The chunks are all about 6 inches thick and damn heavy but at least we don't have to landfill them, and they read visually as stone once you put real stones on top of them. I love to work like this. I don't know about the rest of you, but hard labor is always good for what ails me.

Today, though, it's just a bit too cold and windy to feel comfortable outside even doing heavy lifting work. I've got some baking projects going instead to make things cozy here. I'm trying a recipe for no-knead whole wheat bread, and no-knead yeast breads were not even something I knew existed. I'm too lazy and have too much of a sweet tooth to have ever devoted much time to really learn how to bake good bread, but something about the weather inspires a longing in me to perfume the house with fresh baking. I also pulled some custard cup-sized apple crisps out of the oven a little while ago. I feel all virtuous about it because I used up 4 apples just beginning to wrinkle, half a cup of some homemade mincemeat filling, and some pecan streusel I had frozen some time ago to be able to make quick fruit desserts. Apples and mincemeat plus some sugar, cinnamon, and a big dollop of sour cream were the filling, the streusel I sprinkled on top, and that was it. Sooooo rich and yummy and belly-warming.

And now to go with my theme for the day of self-indulgence, I'm off for a little nap. Hope you're all finding ways to relax out of the cold today!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A nothing much kind of day

No blogging all day today, though I meant to several times. It was one of those days where I was with someone else at all times, from getting Sister up this morning at 6:30 to get ready for school, fetching Husband Saltines and Cokes and ginger ales with lots of ice because they were the only things his virus-besieged stomach could keep down, to intensively playing with Bean pretty much non-stop to distract her from jumping on her papa's usually bouncy belly, til just about 15 minutes ago when I was able to get the girls down to sleep. Phew.

And now I'm remembering that I've got to make a phone call to the other Brownie troop leader about tomorrow's meeting. Was I the only one treading water today? I sorta thought February was the slow month out of the year....

Monday, February 05, 2007

Good day sunshine

It's cold and windy outside today, but I resolved early this morning that I have GOT to get out of this funk I feel stuck in most days. Staying inside is just driving me crazy, and with this "arctic blast," as this morning's weather report termed it, moving in to stay for a week I should clearly not be waiting around for anything to change for me.

So I just spent an hour and a half outside during Bean's miraculously long naptime all bundled up but planting things where the mulch wasn't too frozen to scrape aside. I've had several things sitting around in pots outside for a couple of weeks now, so presumably the cold won't bother them. I planted 3 blueberry bushes, 1 climbing rose, even more sweet alyssum, a twisty branched plant called Harry Lauder's walking stick, and a tropical-looking evergreen plant called Japanese aralia. Chores accomplished, but mostly I'm high off fresh air and sunlight right now. Sounds a little corny, I know, but it feels so good to have broken a sweat working outside that I don't care.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pet peeve

Sister's school was cancelled this morning, which I found out at 6:10 am with a call from an automated phone operator. This particularly sucked because Sister is currently in Florida with my mother, living it up in Disneyworld, and I really didn't need to know this time.

We have what is termed a "wintry mix" outside in NC today. It started off with pretty snow around 7:30 or so and turned into some kind of sleety rain mix within a couple of hours. It's not currently warm enough to stick to the roads so I made it out earlier to Whole Foods for some things I didn't really need and a latte which I kinda did need. What I really needed, of course, was to set foot out of the house with Bean. I didn't relish the idea of being stuck in here with her for the whole day one little bit.

While shopping, I was once again subjected to the tired Yankee tirade against Southerners and snow, courtesy of the deli clerk who sliced my ham. Fer chrissakes, I've heard this rant a hundred times if I've heard it once. It goes like this: "You guys call THIS snow?! Back in Chicago/New York/Philadelphia, where I'm from, this would be nothing. They'd have the school buses running without even thinking twice! What is your problem down here anyway?"

Please, Yankees, just shut the hell up about this, will ya? We just don't get much snow here and therefore no one wants to waste their money on snow tires or chains or even a fleet of snowplows and tons of salt for the roads. I mean, why bother? It does something frozen here maybe once or twice a year if we're lucky, and it's usually ice, not snow, which nobody should be driving around in anyway, 4-wheel drive, snow tires, Yankee heritage or not.

So what if we cancel school when you would be bravely forging ahead in your school buses. Take a break, drink some hot chocolate with your out-of-school kids and find a new way to disparage the South, o.k.? God knows there's plenty of fodder if you want to rant.