Friday, February 26, 2010

Return to Sender.

Yesterday I was NOT in the mood to abide by a budget. (Come to think of it... when am I in the mood to abide by a budget??)

This always happens when I have two free hours with only one child. In always end up wandering in a most dangerous land called Marshalls.

It's like a train wreck waiting to happen, my budget and Marshalls. With my budget being an old, rusted out VW bug, just sittin' on the tracks saying "Go ahead and put me out of my misery" as the Marshalls express comes looming.

I actually had a *point* to going in, though. It wasn't just mindless browsing for some colorful shoes that might make me look thin. (If that makes no sense to you, you're obviously lacking in cankles. See Exhibit B, according to Google image search.)

No, I was there to look for a sensible twin comforter for my son's new bed. I was hoping to find something that was just perfect, because--at Marshalls--you never know. So I was browsing and found a couple of promising, if still just a touch bit feminine, twin down alternative comforters. But then it occured to me--I could sure use new stuff for *my* bed. And if I get new stuff for *my* bed, then I can use my old stuff for Big Boy's bed. It might be a little big. So what? He's always kicking his covers off anyway.

The wheels in my head are turning as I start browsing through more beautiful possibilities. Then I saw this:

Um. Yes, please.
So, with a dash of unbridled abandon and a good heap of stubborn "I don't give a care", I plunked it on top of my cart and made for the register.
Before the hour was out, it was firmly in place on my bed. I confessed my budget sin to The Spouse, but I'm afraid I didn't even ask for absolution. Nope. Some sins you'd just rather live with.
But, of course, the shoulder angel appears. Tsk-ing. "Wouldn't you rather have diapers? Or food?" the shoulder angel whines.
Quite honestly? No.
But the shoulder angel wins. The shoulder angel, when combined with the slightly crestfallen face of my spouse, always wins. So it's back in it's bag. Lovingly refolded, just as it was. With plans to return it, this very day.
So I was laying in bed this morning under a Bed in a Bag comforter that our home's former owners left in the bathroom, and not pouting at all, when my Beloved hesitantly told me that he was going out to lunch today, and did I mind?
Not at all.
As long as he doesn't mind if I come home with a new dining room set.
He kissed my head goodbye, but I could swear I heard some muttering about an inch and a mile...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Comfortable and joy.

Today, I'm all about comfortable.

Do you wake up sometimes and just know that it's going to be a sweatshirt and herbal tea kind of day? I do. Sometimes, I know it's going to be a "cute jeans and get stuff done" kind of day. Other days, it's a "gloves and get outside" kind of day.

But today, is a comfortable and joy day. My friend Ruth would've called it a "Mental health" day.

So I'm planning to stay inside, wearing my husband's blue "Purdue" sweatshirt. Spa socks. A strong mug of lemon tea with honey, of course.

And while I'm talking about joy, I just love the graphic that I found for my early spring header. Don't you love it? It makes me smile every time I see it. I can't claim to be into everything that's vintage, but I do have a soft spot for great depression and World War II era graphics. But I still haven't found the perfect background to go with my header. If any of you come across anything that's *perfect*, let me know, will you?


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

100 Goals.

I've posted before about my list of 100 goals. The one that I made for a psychology assignment my senior year of high school. It's important to me, that list. Even when my older brother says "You know, everyone else in that class just threw those lists away. Let it go."

I'm pretty sure that he's just jealous. Because even though he has his PhD from some fancy shmancy university in Cambridge, what's the joy in that if you didn't get to cross "GET PHD" off your list??

I rest my case.
Anyway, back to my list.

Every year, I try to work on two or three of these goals. Some of them just happen without my even thinking about them. That was how I crossed off "Drink hot chocolate in the Alps in January." Just happened to be in the Alps. In January. Drinking hot chocolate.

But some take a bit more effort. Goal #62 on my list, which is stored in the file right next to my marriage certificate and our passports, is this: Gather honey.

So for Christmas, my fabulous Spouse paid $30 and enrolled me in the Mecklenburg County Bee School. No huge commitment. Here, take some classes. You all read my blog, you know this.


Several weeks and a *lot* more than 30 dollars later. I am anxiously anticipating the arrival of my darlings...
As well as all the fun stuff that come with them:
I feel like it's Christmas Eve. I cannot WAIT.
And you know what it means? Not only does it mean a fabulous checkmark next to the number 62 on my list, but it also means a celebratory gift for you, my lovely readers.
Free honey this fall.
Because my followers may be few, but I sure love 'em. :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vancouver 2010

As someone who never participates in, and generally loathes watching, sports, I like to dust off my athletic expertise every few years. What better opportunity to brush up on sports lingo than to offer my very well thought out opinions and commentary on the Olympics??

First up, pairs figure skating.

I think we can all agree that the Chinese couple who has been married 18 years and came out of retirement to compete, deserved to win the gold medal. Even if she did almost fall off in the free skate. Whatever. But what *really* clinched their gold wasn't her gigantic, open-mouth smile or his ever present jazz hands. No. It was when the German couple chose their costumes:

Really? Or in German, wirklich??? Send in the clowns?! You chose THAT as your Olympic theme? Maybe something got lost in translation. It could be cultural differences. But I have a hard time believing that a CLOWN costume says "Take me seriously" in any language.

But, then I took a good long look at the Norwegian men's curling team, and decided that I might be wrong:

Masterfully done, guys. Masterfully done. The circus that loaned you those pants was high-fiving all over the place as you used their elephant cleaning brooms to sweep that ice. Sweep it!

Now. On to women's moguls, or--another way to put it--showing the world's.done.

That is American Hannah Kearney, known in the Olympic village as the "Prude" who didn't do a swimsuit photo shoot in preparation for her Olympic experience. And that is American Hannah Kearney just hanging out upside down. For a long time. While her Canadian competition started bawling at the bottom of the run. I know nothing about skiing, and the only time I've attempted skiing I ended up in a pretzel on the bunny hill, but even *I* could see that her run was flawless. Here's to you, Prudie.

But even watching that breathlessly beautiful run isn't as entertaining, The Spouse pointed out to me, as watching the cross country skiers and cross the finish line. Why? Because it's like a big game of ring around the rosie:

Sing it with me "ASHES, ASHES, WE ALL FALL DOWN!!!" I love it! I love a sport where everyone collapses in despair/joy/exhaustion at the end. Awesome! So unlike those marathon runners who cross the finish line after more than 26 miles.... and just keep running. Like they can't stop. Take a page from your cross-country friends and collapse in a heap instead. It feels SO much better.

Unless you're Lindsey Jacobellis. And you're sitting on your backside halfway through the course as your competition crosses the finish line and you're thinking "WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED?!"

Well, Linds (can I call you Linds?) I'll tell you what happened. That blue gate? Which actually just looks like a pole? You ran into it. So, Lesson 1 from Torino: no showing off before the finish line. Lesson 2 from Vancouver: don't run into the pole. I mean gate. Maybe next time.

But for our final sport, I'm not sure there should be a next time:

I'm sorry. I try to be supportive and understanding. Everyone has their thing. Some people think curling is cool in clown pants. Some people, I'm sure, watch the couples ice dancing. Even if it's just to laugh. But WHO in their RIGHT MIND trains for a sport called "Skeleton." If I understand it correctly, you get on the sled. Face first. And you go down the same track that those bobsledders and crazy lugers use. At 70 miles per hour. FACE FIRST.

Please. Someone explain to me how this is a good idea. Or even legal. Because it boggles my unathletic mind. Ice + speed + face + downhill does NOT, in my also mathematically challenged mind, = FUN.

Stay tuned. You never know what kind of hilarity is left in the second week of competition.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


You know, something struck me as funny this morning.

I have bought my daughter two Barbies in her 5 years of life. Each time, I was obsessed with finding modest Barbies that had actual clothing. With sleeves. I'm trying hard to impress upon her the importance of dressing modestly, and that modesty is beautiful.

This morning as I watched her playing with them, I was wondering why I bothered. They always end up naked anyway.
Happy Sabbath.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


The older I get, the more I realize--there are just some things that I will never understand.
Some of them are obvious: nuclear fission (or fusion), chemical "moles", how to build a computer, calculus, and the theory of relativity. I have happily left them on the shelf of knowledge and gone, instead, for the books on apiary (bees) and Motherhood for the Homemaking Impaired.
But there are other, less obvious things that continue to confound me.
To begin with. Skinny jeans. On teenage guys. What the??? Who decided this was a good idea? And how are you supposed to tell emo girls and guys apart?

Next up? Haute Couture. It's French for "You MUST be joking."

Does that lady know that doesn't have any pants on? I mean really--does she?

But I know we all look at this and think "But no one really expects me to wear that stuff. I mean, that jacket alone probably costs more than my mortgage." Which is a good point. Until you walk into Target and see how they actually are expecting you to dress. Then "Dior" doesn't look so bad.

Far right conservatives. Far left liberals.
Can't we all just get along??
I'm telling you, what the world needs now is love. Sweet love.

And finally...


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


The Spouse and I are living by, and sticking to, a budget this year. A real one. We are determined to live within our means. We are determined not to dip into savings every paycheck. We are determined to actually HAVE savings at the end of this year, for emergencies. We.are.determined.

But I have to admit--it is hard, sometimes, to make things stretch. Make it do, or do without. I know that sounds like whining. It really isn't. I realize what a blessed life I live, and how fortunate I am. Living this way has made me realize that more than ever.

But sometimes you just don't care. Sometimes your determination slips away and you just want to throw up your hands and pull out your credit card. What does it matter? We've figured it out before. And those purchases are so easy to justify--Thing 1 doesn't have a single pair of jeans that aren't floods. It's Valentine's Day this weekend--why shouldn't I my sweetheart some roses, or at least the stuff to make red velvet cake balls? I haven't seen my mother in a year, and tickets are really *pretty* affordable right now.

But even all those things seem pathetic when you're debating--do we transfer money from savings to fix the furnace? Do we transfer money from savings to pay for school lunches? Do we transfer money to buy the Munchkin's soy milk or let her suffer the consequences of cow's milk?In the end, do we put on coats, make some bread to put jam on, and open the piggy bank and pay for the soy milk in change?

In the end--what is a want, and what is a need?
In the end, how determined am I?

I think.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Unedited Life: February.

I blame my current blog fog on the fact that it's not yet halfway through February.
I detest February.
For the record, I don't know anyone who doesn't detest February. Unless they live in the Southern Hemisphere where February is warm.
I believe that's because I have to spend the *entire* month fighting my most basic February Survival Instincts.
Like hibernating.

(Don't even think about it, Romeo. True love does not wake True Love.)
Carbo-loading on comfort food.
(That.sandwich. Oh my. The utter perfection of that food.)
And watching various versions of Jane Austen adaptations.

(And for the record, it's edited. Also for the record, The Spouse and I agree that if my triple great-grandparents hadn't become Mormon and crossed the ocean and then the plains, I would probably be Bridget Jones.)
But no. Instead of doing what comes naturally (preferably from the comfort of my own bed under layers of down comforter, as nature intended) I actually have to get UP in the morning. And FUNCTION. Turn down the heater so that the gas bill doesn't equal the mortgage. Tip-toe out to the mailbox hoping for a new Netflix envelope. Carefully inspect my trees for any signs of spring. Watch my children slowly descend into cabin fever. Visit the Sandals website daily and gaze at azure water. Survive.February.
Which is why I have nothing blogworthy to say.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Polite cough.

The Munchkin developed a cough Sunday. The kind where I said out loud to the Spouse "Hm. I don't think it warrants a trip to the Urgent Care. But maybe I should take her in tomorrow."

Three days (and sleepless nights) later, I finally decided to take her in. I dropped Thing 2 off at our co-op preschool (apologizing in my head for his constantly runny nose) and headed to the pediatrician's office. Parked. Grabbed the Munchkin out of the car and headed in.

The moment Herr Doctor breezed into the room, Munchkin started wailing--squirting gigantic tears *off* her face. (How DO kids do that??) I was delighted by this. Because, you see, a good temper tantrum usually leads to a coughing fit. So we'd be able to get an accurate diagnosis. I am nothing if not a logical parent. Doc sighed and asked me to hold her on my lap, which did nothing to comfort her. She was now simply screaming in BOTH our ears, which seemed unfair to me. He was being paid to have his ears screamed in.

Herr Doctor whistled and said "Sounds like a case of RSV. Bronchitis. Maybe both. How long has she sounded like this again??"

My good parent meter wobbled slightly in it's dial.

"But RSV kids are usually pretty happy even if they sound terrible..." he continued as he peered in her ear "...but with a raging ear infection like THIS one has..." changing ears "or a DOUBLE ear infection like this one has, it's no surprise she's miserable."

Good parent meter tilted ominously toward the yellow.

Herr Doctor now looked in her mouth, whistled again, "And her throat is really red. And she's cutting all 4 molars. Poor kid."

He twirled his stool around and leaned over her chart and started making notes, giving instructions: antibiotic, humidifier, rest, fluids. "Oh. And make sure you keep her bundled up. It's cold outside, and that can wreak havoc on these little bodies."

I looked down at my hiccoughing daughter in my lap--shoeless, sockless, hatless, coatless.

The good parent meter tanked. Red alarm bells going off.

But then I reminded myself--I had put socks on her. She took them off herself. And at least I'd gotten her coat into the car. So that wasn't as bad as leaving it home.

"Give her her medicine with food--you know, breakfast would be perfect."

Crap. Breakfast. The Munchkin looked up at me accusingly and sniffed.

I humbly took the prescription and vowed to do better. Or at least to remember to refill the humidifier with water before turning it on "high" for the night.

(On a side note, coming out of the doctor's office I saw the coolest thing! There were 50+ robins in the trees, on the ground--everywhere! They were so fat and twittering and happy. I have never seen that many at once. It was incredible.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I have hit a weightloss plateau.
It feels like this:

And my low-calorie, gluten free options are looking about as appealing as this:

(That, my uneducated friends, is a pile of yak poo.)

I'm almost desperate enough to eat these: