Thursday, December 31, 2009
I made a huge list of resolutions last year. A list large enough to be called a dissertation, really. Implement all kinds of healthy habits and lose weight, save money, become more organized, be a better parent...I don't really think I did any of them any real justice. I joined and participated in SparkPeople, and lost some weight, and gained it back (I have since joined up again. '10 is my year!) I didn't save any money, I'm no more organized, I don't feel any smarter...
Whine whine. I do kick myself for not sticking with the healthy habits one, though -I was exercizing and eating better and feeling a ton better until April. Why do we stop doing things that feel great and we know are good for us?
Anyway, on another note - I went with some of my girls to see "Sherlock Holmes" tonight - awesome time, very fun movie. Totally worth going to see.
Friday, December 25, 2009
The children were not awake yet.
Presents, yummy breakfast, and games...a lovely, quiet day. And I know this is kind of grinchy myself, but...I'm kind of glad it's over. I love Christmas, but I'm very glad it's only one day a year.
And in honor of my favorite present from my mom:
Bork bork bork!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
But I am not feeling very accomplished. Since we moved here almost 5 years ago, I have tried to create some December rituals we have enjoyed immensely. The children and I. The Studmuffin stays pretty uninvolved - he is rather grinch-like. Anyway, we start the month of December by listing activities we want to enjoy - looking at lights, reading stories, watching holiday movies, baking cookies. Then we listed each activity on a small piece of paper and put it in our advent house. Each day the kids would open the door and we would do the activity. We didn't do that this year - never bothered. Generally, since we do not adhere to any particular religious tradition, we acknowledge each December holiday - whether with a small ceremony, a meal, or just a story. This year the kids got their ornaments on St. Nick's day, we talked about Chanukah briefly, and the Solstice got a barely a nod - simply a little information about why it was important. Not even a small candle ceremony. We only baked a few cookies this year. I love holiday baking - why didn't I do it? I feel so - lazy!
By next year I will have a job (power of positive thinking), so the baking will likely be small again. But I am swearing to myself that our small ceremonies and rituals will have their place again - perhaps I will plan with some other families, to take a little of the burden off me. Having a husband who is uninterested in either spirituality or ritual leaves me bearing the brunt of our children's spiritual upbringing and I fear, having no obvious path myself, that I am falling short in this area. This is not an open plea for conversion, by the way, so please do not respond offering your own religion as a guide. I do not feel I need to inject a specific religion's tenets, only a spiritual background, a little magic, and the concept that life is not only what you can see. Obviously, I could use that little reminder myself. Spirituality is important to me, and the journey to find my own path has been as interesting and fulfilling these last few years as any church service ever was. I think, this month especially, I've forgotten how fulfilling an active spiritual life can be. That will most certainly be a part of my focus for the new year.
That, and finding a job.
Monday, December 21, 2009
This particular "best of" post is one I've been waiting for, as I finished several projects I'm proud of. For my sweet friend A's Christmas present I tried a new collage technique using paper and watercolors, and it came out really well. I plan to use those watercolors (a gift to my daughter from my dad, but they are really expensive, good watercolors, and the girl is more a Prang girl) a lot more. But even better - I learned to sew this year. And like it! One of my favorite friends, another A friend, taught me to use my sewing machine (a gift from my dad and brother 4 years ago) in May. My first sewing project was a simple gathered skirt for the Girl:
My second project was a purse made from an old pair of my husband's khakis:
My daughter has 6 18" dolls - one real American Girl doll from her lovely godmother, the rest knock-offs from Target. She loves them all. There is this adorable retired man who builds furniture for the dolls and sells them at a local craft fair for ridiculously reasonable prices, and she owns 2 sets. This year my mom bought her another set (so no two dolls will have to share a bed, how lovely. For Christmas I painted each set of beds and sewed mattresses and pillows for each bed. I also cut some fleece into blankets, and I plan to attach two sets so they take up less room (they do take up a lot of floor space.) I've finished everything except the attaching. I'll take pictures of these once I'm done.
I've finished a lot this year, and now I have another task to mark off my list of "I plan to finish before I'm 40" tasks.
Now I'm off to bake cookies with my Daisy troop. Good times!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Which may sound a bit like cyberstalking, but really, it's not. I don't know what these amazing women are doing, other than what they choose to share.
So, for several new crafts, the desire to knit and sew, to share my own voice, no matter who is reading...I thank all my new blogging "friends". Thanks for being out there for me to discover this year.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I realize it would be much more fun if I could use a more exciting word, but 2009 simply was not very exciting. Some good things happened: the birth of a niece and nephew, a great visit to Chicago, the easing of a dispute. Some irritating things happened: the regaining of some weight, money issues, the neverending job search, too much time on the computer, fights with the kids and husband...
A rather ordinary year.
Since I should have a picture to go along with these posts, I am posting a picture of my garden gnome looking unexceptional. Although I rather like my garden gnome. I love gnomes. They're so mischievous. But, he looks kind of bored, so it is symbolizing my post. And, the Cubs had a rather unexceptional year. So there you go.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Ok, first of all, ignore the boy in the pic - he will be irritated that I posted him, but this is the best photo I have of the kitchen before I attacked. I am not a wine and grapes kind of girl, and I really hate wallpaper borders, so that was the first thing to be destroyed - I mean, removed. There was also wallpaper in an odd shade of blue that had to be done away with. We ditched the builder-grade brass chandelier and the 1980's ceiling fixture, and installed brushed stainless fixtures. Patched up the walls, painted a sunny yellow...
I know, I've posted this before, but it really does bear repeating. I love the color more every day. I need to do something about the windows and backsplash, but I love being in my kitchen now.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Album of the year:
I've been totally rocking Franz Ferdinand - this year's album was "Tonight" and it was excellent.
Also - you know that Cadillac commercial with the wicked song playing in the background? The song is "1901" by Phoenix, and the whole album, "Wolfgang Amadeus" is pretty wicked. Thank you to my brother for turning me onto that one - I really dig it.
The Best Place of the Year
So I asked the Monkeybutt what he thought the best place we went this year was, and he, very immediately, said "Camino Real!" So here you see his birthday dinner at what has become our very favorite Mexican restaurant. The food is affordable and excellent, the servers are very friendly...have I mentioned the verde sauce? So tasty.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Both kids started full time school in August, they're a bit older, so compared to most of my mommy friends, I probably have multiple "moments of peace." Except - I spend a lot of time fretting, worrying, trying to figure things out. I've been looking for a job, I've taken on more than my share of volunteer jobs, and my kids fight all the time they are together...my husband, while a great guy, is not exactly the easiest person to get along with. So while I am not the busiest person, I am not always so very peaceful, either. Perhaps something to work on in 2010.
I spent several hours during the summer and fall walking the paths at the arboretum. Most of the time I plugged my MP3 player in and walked for exercize, but I did spend a few lovely evenings wandering the paths, enjoying the quiet. Those stolen moments of peace are why I don't coach my kids' soccer teams. Well, that, and the fact that I am not a good soccer coach...
Sunday, December 6, 2009
1. Both kids got excellent report cards. 'Cuz they're brilliant. 'Cuz they have a brilliant mom, of course.
2. The bronchitis has gone on its way, quickly. Barely a lingering cough.
3. I made a very yummy turkey soup the other day...very warm and tasty.
4. I got to spend several hours adoring and snuggling and playing with my niece this weekend. Oh, readers, she is something - so very adorable.
5. Last, and very cool - I have a job interview for a job I really want on Wednesday. Keep your fingers crossed, please...
Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday I ended up going to the doctor, who said I did, indeed, have bronchitis. Ugh, anytime someone brings a cold into the house. I am feeling better, though.
Yesterday (Sunday) the kids and I decided we were sick of sitting around doing nothing, so we decided to take advantage of one of the last nice days of the year, and went to the zoo. I love those last minute, let's just go-type excursions. The zoo was practically empty - it looked like rain, and the holiday lights didn't come on until 5PM, so we had the place to ourselves, and right after feeding time, so the animals were extra active. It was way fun.
Tomorrow starts the countdown to the holidays - we don't really subscribe to any particular religion in our household, so we treat the whole month of December as a time to honor several different religious traditions in an effort to teach diversity and respect. Christmas is our big family celebration, but I will be sure to post our other observances this month. We try to do one holiday-type activity a day, and one of our favorites is driving around looking at lights. I've done this since I was a kid, and now my own children enjoy it as much as I always have. Tonight, as Monkeybutt and I were driving home from the orthodontist (good times), we saw tons of holiday light displays, and some good ones, at that. I look forward to a few trips out to see the lights.
I'm going to make an effort to photograph more this month - look for some pictures of our daily goings-on to come.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
1. The husband had a cold all weekend. Which meant a lot of lounging and whining and asking me for stuff. Also, he doesn't cover his mouth when he coughs. Who taught this boy manners?
2. The Girl came home from school with a fever of 102 today. She was feeling better before bed, but she can't go back until next week.
3. I'm not breathing well. Unfortunately for me, if I get a cold, it goes directly to my chest. Wish me luck.
4. I missed V tonight. Argh.
That said, this is funny. Watch it.
The Mellow Show
Friday, November 20, 2009
And now I'm feeling sleepy, so g'nite.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
My friend A came home from Cali this week with the loveliest little presents for me, including a green owl to hang on my kitchen wall, which looks ever so sweet. Thursday I went to her house for coffee, and we made holiday cards. Her's are significantly nicer than mine, but I was letting Gorgeous nephew help, so they have a bit of a "modern art" look going on. Friday morning I got the "Happy Birthday Archiver's" e-mail, so we decided to haul rear up to Mason - I finally found that Hero Arts "Big Owl" stamp I've looked all over the area for (yes I could have ordered it online, but it's so much more fun to be able to walk in somewhere and pick it up.) I also found a gnome stamp I wanted, and got several sheets of Bazzill cardstock, which I love, especially their swiss dot line, which is super cute. I had two little pumpkins with me, both of whom wanted to be held most of the time, and when they didnt' want to be held, they were helping by filling my basket every time my back was turned. I'm pretty sure I burned several hundred calories dealing with those two, but I enjoyed them nonetheless (they're not mine, so they're more fun, you understand.) Anyway, the happy note of the story, besides the yummy lunch at Red Robin, is that I got a buttload of stuff for free, and I stocked up on Trader Joe's pumpkin bread mix, which is my favorite. Friday was a good day.
Can you believe how fast the end of the year is going? I was planning out my week and realizing, I'm going to have to get the turkeys soon. Thanksgiving is in less than two weeks! Insanity.
I finally got my college transcripts in the mail, so I will get those into the school district this week, and hopefully I'll have a job by the beginning of December. Keep your fingers crossed, friends, we could really use the cash.
Anyway, it's time to get back to accomplishing nothing.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
1. Fuzzy furry sweet purring kitties who love me.
2. Very cool textured Star Wars decorative paper.
3. My patience. It was tried, and successful, today.
4. Several happy hours with coffee and a good friend, and snuggle time with my gorgeous nephew.
5. Dove Chocolate Brownie ice cream. Speaks for itself.
What are you thankful for today?
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This is my chaise lounge. I inherited it from my grandparent's home - where it happily occupied a corner of the screened in porch, providing an ideal napping space for years. It is on my back porch, and is one of my favorite spots for reading, napping, thinking, snuggling. My Girl and I dragged it onto the driveway and watched the Perseids together. When it's chilly I wrap myself in a blanket and drink hot tea on it. I hope it gives me many more years of comfy service.
The hat is a great source of embarrassment for my brother, as I wear it to do yardwork, go to the pool, etc. My kids don't care, and my son is in middle school - the time most ripe for embarrassment caused by parents. So, too bad for my brother.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Today was this perfect, sunny, 70's fall day. I spent a part of it unpacking my van from our trip to Chicago this past weekend, and part of it reading on my back porch, and part of it burning some lawn detritus and leaves. I'm sitting near an open window right now and it smells crisp and cool, with just a hint of rotting vegetation and campfire. I love the smell of fall. So warm and brown. My husband likes to remind me that I'm actually deeply inhaling and enjoying the scent of decay. See, this is why I love him - always ready to give me that kick in the rear of reality. Well, bud, I already knew that, so this time the jokes on you. Hah!
Trip to Chicago - my dad got married to this fabulous woman we all love and we drove up for the wedding. Earlier this year she asked me to sing in the wedding. I have terrible stagefright - I simply do not sing in public anymore, it's too stressful, but I couldn't say no to her. I sang two songs, and my voice didn't crack or sound awful, so that's good. I was very visibly nervous, as evidenced by my first conversation with sister R's new fiance - "wow, you were really nervous, weren't you? I mean, you started to relax at the end there, but you were seriously freaking." Yeah, thanks. Anyway, it was a nice trip, although I packed for November in Chicago, and it was more like spring in Texas, so we spent a lot of the wedding and after stuff very very hot. The reception dinner was held at an Indian restaurant, much to the delight of my kids, husband, and me. Yum. Later we hung out with the sibs, playing Rock Band and swapping photos off our various memory cards (love the digital age) and Sunday we went to Chinatown for dim sum. This was a first for me on a few fronts - I lived in the Chicago area for 30 years and never went to Chinatown. It was this whole convergence of languages and people and smells - we definitely want to go back next time we have some time in the city. The dim sum - my kids loved it. (I love the fact that my kids will try almost anything.) Monkeybutt and sis R were bonding over all sorts of steamed whatevers, and the Girl Child spent much time in her own little blissful world of shrimp and crab balls (and who doesn't love to say 'crab balls.') Admittedly, I did not much enjoy the food - the texture didn't sit right with me. I didn't really go for the food, though, I went for the experience, and that was worth every minute. Plus I got to bond more with my baby niece, who is absolute sweetness and light.
We went for Thai tonight at our favorite place (Mai Thai on Rt. 42 in Florence - so so so good, if you live in the area, you must try it.) Studmuffin and I spent the entire ride over discussing books. This is such a rare occurance, I felt I should jot down for the future. We did not discuss money, or the kids, or health, or anything - books. Namely, Crime and Punishment and Catcher in the Rye - both books he loved and urged me to read, and I have written about in this blog before, so I won't bore you with the details again. He doesn't understand why I need to like, or at least, be able to slightly relate to, the main characters - this was the subject of our discussion, which was actually a discussion, and not an "I'm right, you're wrong" lecture. The kids were actually quiet for the whole thing. Maybe they learned something. Or maybe they were plotting a hostile takeover of the family unit. Who knows. What I do know is I've had enough of eating out for the week - I will definitely be cooking the rest of the week. I want to make soup, but nobody here ever likes my soup. I'll have to find some good soup recipes.
I wanted to add at least one pic today, but I haven't uploaded any from the past weekend, and I felt a need to go back a few years - this was July of 2006. The Girl was not 4 years old yet. We were on our way home from the zoo and she fell asleep - sweaty and loving her new hat. She was so freaking cute.
I should be getting to bed...or at least go read some other blogs, play some Bookworm...etc...
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Then I got bored and went to the party.
The Studmuffin and I celebrated our lucky 13th anniversary on Monday. Wow. And it only feels like 12 1/2.
I have a lot on my mind right now, and my ability to string sentences together is beginning to fail, so I'm going to cut my losses and go for now. Happy dreams!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I need to be on my way. Have a great night.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Today, Monkeybutt is thankful for:
2. Star Wars
3. He is awesome
Today, the Girl Child is thankful for:
1. Having a great family.
2. Her birthday is in a few weeks (and she will get presents.)
3. Beating up her brother
What lovely children they are. Now they are done being thankful, and have gone back to wrestling loudly. Well, as long as nobody is bleeding...
Monday, October 5, 2009
I love the smell of October. I love that the air smells of campfires and crunching leaves (which my husband kindly reminds me is actually the smell of decay, but I don't care.)
I took these pictures while I wandered our local arboretum during The Girl Child's soccer practice. I love soccer, don't get me wrong, but admittedly, soccer with 6 and 7 year old girls is rather brutal. They spend most of their time kicking the ball out of bounds and squealing. At least Monkeybutt's games have gotten exciting.
I'm still searching for a job, and my husband will be a much happier man when I find one. I think I will, too.
This ends my 30 days of happiness. I suppose I can blog about the things that bug me again now, huh? Obviously, I'm joking, I really am a rather happy sort. What I've learned from this project, however, is that I need to make sure I have my camera on me more often. I've enjoyed having a photographic record of what's been going on. I will certainly work on that.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
My first knitting project. I need some help, though - I don't know how to add on, and this is a whole skein of yarn, but it's not quite long enough to be a scarf. I have another skein of the same yarn, I just need to take the time to learn to add on. I also need to learn to cast off, or wear a scarf attached to a knitting needle, which probably wouldn't be very comfortable.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sweet nephew came over for the afternoon. I walked into the living room and he and the Girl Child were playing school. She was lecturing him on "matter" ("Try not to touch matter. See? You can't! It's everywhere!") and they were writing on the white board. This pleased me on two levels - adorable nephew and daughter writing together, having fun; and the Girl Child showing an interest in science and the fact that she is actually learning it at school. I loved playing school as a child, as well, and the Girl Child does this often - either with the nephew or with the quads that live down the street. She reads to them, shows them how to write, talks about science. It is a lot of fun to watch (and it keeps the neighborhood children happy for hours.)
This kid. (not a great pic, I apologize, but it can be difficult to get him to stand still for any length of time.) My sweet, adorable, lovable nephew. Every time I go to his house, he runs to the door shouting my name. When I go out to his car he gives me the happiest smiles. Nobody makes me feel as special as he does - he's always so happy to see me. We should all have someone in our lives who makes us feel like we make the world a better place.
Friday, September 25, 2009
22. I've written about my other two cats - this is Bug. She is my only little girl kitty, and she's as sweet as can be. We got her at only 3 weeks old - she was abandoned in a dumpster, along with the rest of her litter. My mom's next door neighbor's son rescued them, and we took Bug. I had to lift her into her litter box, she was so tiny. She has an oral fixation, too - she'll lick any exposed amount of skin, a lot. She is a loud purrer, and she has what sounds like a smokers voice - which she uses a lot when she wants a treat, which is always. Buggy is my Monkeybutt's cat - he was only 1 when we got her, so they've grown up together. We adore this cat - she's just lovely.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Is it legal, do you think, to be this chipper on a Monday? I feel like the red-haired receptionist on Office Space.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I make my mom a calendar every year with pictures of family and cats, birthdays and whatnot. A few years ago I started adding odd holidays, which she and her coworkers found absolutely delightful, so I have continued to do so. Here is where I find these unusual (but real) holidays:
It's later. I'm feeling a bit of a need to offload tonight - nothing major or bad, just feeling a bit...unfocused. Which makes it difficult to complete a task, let me tell you. I've been feeling this way all week, and in part, the feeling is hormonal (if you females catch my drift.) I find, with each passing month, my anger and complete frazzled-ness increases during this time. I very simply cannot concentrate on anything and I have to write it all down or lose it. And one annoying detail will completely bog me down - for instance, for the past few hours I've had a little fuzzy something stuck to an eyelash and I can't find it. It's very likely I will pull out each and every eyelash before I manage to fix the problem. And the irritation of it has consumed me to the point that I haven't been able to craft at all tonight.
So there you have it, readers. I'm going completely out of my mind. And with none of the cool creative side effects. So unfair.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Seasonal wreath - autumn edition. The little paper guy at the bottom is an owl; I have a fondness for them. Plain grapevine wreath form - just change out the decor for the seasons. I may have to add a Halloween addition or two for October. I do love Halloween.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
This is Eddy. He is 14 years old. I got him as a kitten the day before Thanksgiving, 2005. I really wanted to adopt a cat, but the shelter wouldn't let me - I was only 20. So I picked him out of a box at a pet store - and yes, I realize the horrors of pet stores, but seriously, he was calling my name. We bonded instantly. I was going to call him Raul, but it really does not roll off the tongue gracefully. "Rocky Horror Picture Show" was playing in the background, and it had come to the part where all the guests are in Dr. Frank-n-Furter's lab and the freezer opens and Columbia screams, "Eddie!" and I just stuck with it. But, being 20, I felt the need to change all conventional spelling, and hence, Eddy. I've had him longer than I've had my husband. He sleeps with me every night, stretched against my back. He bites the tops of my feet if he feels I have not refreshed his food recently enough. He refuses to let me go to the bathroom alone. He talks more than I do - he even meows at phantom somethings in the bathroom, walking his front paws up the walls and meowing at the ceiling. He is desperately soft, extremely friendly, he loves milk rings, and he purrs like a rusty motor. Eddy is my first baby.
My mom drew my attention to the fact that I neglected to mention one of Eddy's most charming attributes - his freckles. I added another picture - look closely at his nose. I was scared to death the first time I saw them, but the vet assured me that they were normal. He has freckles on his nose and his lips, and they are, definitely, charming.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
The aftermath of a very fun party. Ok, maybe a really fun party is supposed to have more mess, but today we celebrated my little sister's 22nd b-day with brats, cake, and Trivial Pursuit. We played in teams, and although A and I lost, we laughed so hard at times I peed a little. See? The mark of a good party. Happy birthday, K!
They're all sweaty and sticky and cutie patootie - I just had to immortalize the moment.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Piles of books to read and love.
Great friends who recommend great books. This morning I finished our September book club selection, Skeletons at the Feast, which was...amazing. Best book I've read all year. My friend S recommended another book to me called Pandemonium, which I started this afternoon, and am well past the middle of the book now. I love love love amazing new books to read, especially when I would never have thought to pick them up in the first place.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I had lunch with my mom today. I talk about her often, but I don't believe I've ever dedicated an entire post to her, and I should, because she is fabulous. She is a sweet and caring soul, fun-loving, silly, and a superb grandma. She will laugh at all your jokes, and cry with you when you are sad, even if she has no idea why. She will always help in a pinch, whether she can or not. She always put us first when we were growing up, and that is the most important thing a mother can do. And now that I am grown, I am thrilled to count her among my closest friends.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
My friend A, my darling nephew and I went to Archivers (where good little scrapbookers go when they die) today. I spent $24, but then I put back all the pretty paper I bought, because I've promised myself I would not buy any more paper, no matter how pretty, until I use what I have. It made me want to cry, especially to put away the embossed green apple paper.
We also went to Trader Joe's, and they had dark chocolate covered raisins, which they are always out of, and I bought some, with great pleasure. I also love their triple ginger snaps - they are so delicious with hot tea. Before that, we had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and I picked the nephew up, and kind of jostled him to get him higher on my hip, and I slammed his poor little head on the pillar behind me. He ended up with a bruise and a lump, and I almost started crying harder than he did. I put ice on his head, and kissed it and kissed it and said 100 times, I'm so sorry, sweet boy and he said, "I'm ok, Missy. It's ok." He's such a pumpkin.
I just entered a drawing on Jenica's blog to win something beautiful from Liz's Etsy shop. The question to answer was "how do you honor your own talents during moments of doubt?" This was a good question for me to ponder; I have a habit of considering myself a "creative soul with no talent." I hate that. I hate the feeling of being a hack in a world of amazingly talented women. And, in thinking of an answer, I realized; I don't do creative things to demonstrate my talent to myself or others. I draw, photograph, scrapbook, sew, knit, and especially, write, because those things make me happy. The picture above demonstrates that fact perfectly - I'm sure a more talented photographer could have taken a better picture. But I took this picture, and the 15 other pictures of the same cloud, because I was sitting outside, talking to my brother, and the light was hitting this cloud so beautifully, and I really just wanted to capture the moment with my camera. I enjoyed taking the pictures. Just like I enjoy writing this blog - I take a great deal of pleasure in sharing words with other people, and there are some people who are just kind enough to sit and read what I have to share. I thank you all for that, but even if nobody ever read this, I probably would still write it. It makes me happy.
Wow, serious rambling. I'm going upstairs to enjoy this last 1/2 hour alone on my chaise lounge, on the porch, with a book and a bottle of water. Have a great day.