Thursday, September 27, 2007

One of Those Stupid Things that are Actually Pretty Cool for Learning About People

The title is a tribute to my sister. She emailed me something very similar to this recently and the subject was something like that. The subject was the only reason I answered it. This time I'm doing it because I'm willing to humor Ralphie, who "tagged" me. I'm not sure exactly what this means - for me it conjures images of Ralphie's stylized gangsta name being plastered with spray paint across my forehead in the dead of the night. (Wow, wouldn't you love to see that? Ralphie, or should I say Ralphmaster J, you'd better get cracking...)

What I Was Doing 10 Years Ago:
Well, ten years ago I was just beginning my senior year of high school. Filling out college applications -- okay, who am I kidding, I only applied to BYU and then focused on scholarship applications. I was co-captaining the ID Unit of our marching band, so let me paint a mental picture for you. On Fridays I wore something akin to a cheerleader skirt with a polo shirt embroidered with my name and I sported gleaming white keds. On Saturdays, picture me in sequins, spandex, dance shoes and tights, gobs of makeup and spinning around a big sign with the letter "R" on it. Are you laughing yet? Also, I was trying only somewhat successfully to combine early morning religious classes with reasonably advanced high school classes with a late night math class at the community college. Last and definitely least, I was starting a relationship with a guy that really didn't work out (a high school relationship not working out, who'd-a-thunk?) On the up side, he helped scare off the creepy over-eager guy in my college math class that wouldn't leave me alone.

What Was I Doing 5 Years Ago: I was a newly-wed finishing my last semester of college. We lived in a stylishly cute little apartment with no furniture to go in it. I was taking floral arranging with my sister since this was the only semester we overlapped at BYU. We lived down the street from a florist, and M would frequently get suckered into buying me flowers on his walk home from school (not that I'm complaining). I had a comparatively easy course load since I only had a final few classes that I hadn't been able to squeeze in within 4 years. I worked part time as a TA for Electrical and Computer Engineering 485: Introduction to Digital Communication Theory (geek-o-matic, no?). I was debating whether to start my masters degree, a decision that was in no small way influenced by the misery of another class I was taking that semester, EcEn 580: Stochastic Processes. This class was at 8 am and taught by my least favorite professor in the department. The TA kept incorrectly grading our papers. The TA was completely inaccessible (as was the professor). The TA barely spoke English. Unfortunately, I needed this class to be able to do anything useful for my graduate work the next semester. M and I even went on an all expense paid by BYU trip to San Diego for a technical conference because I was intending to start my graduate work in that field. It was an agonizing trip. I was surprisingly bored even though I did know what they were talking about (imagine if I hadn't!). I think M enjoyed the conference more than I did, and it wasn't even his area of focus. Needless to say, I wasn't that upset when I decided the Lord's will for me was for me to move on to learning new things, and I gave up on electrical engineering grad school for the time being and dropped that cursed stochastic processes class. You know the class must have been bad since I'm still whining about it 5 years later!!!

One Year Ago: This one is the most boring of the three. I was living in our apartment before our last one. It was a nice apartment. Big kitchen (possibly bigger even than my house!), 2 bathrooms (unlike our last apartment which only had one), master bedroom closet big enough for Scott to sleep in (which he did sometimes - don't go calling child protection services on me though, it really was a big closet). I have nothing interesting to say about 1 year ago, it was merely a pleasant way station before we bought a house.

Yesterday: I took Scott to the doctor so I could pay $20 to have them tell me that essentially, they don't know what caused his 5 day upchuck festival. Came home and called about our broken fridge. Called about our dripping AC secondary drain line. Noticed our fridge was breaking even more and transferred all the contents of our fridge into coolers with ice. Made dessert for the bible study group I go to on Wednesday nights. Frantically searched the house for our refrigerator receipt (I seriously need to unpack more boxes). Fell asleep on the couch in a mixture of exasperation and relief when Claire fell asleep for her quiet time. Woke Claire up from her nap and dealt with cranky "you woke me up" Claire (but I didn't want her to be up until 11pm). Went to potluck dinner/bible study group next door. Came home about the same time as M got home from his meeting at church. Exerted every last ounce of my waning strength to get the kids to bed before it was 11pm. Collapsed on the couch with M and we finished watching "Stranger Than Fiction," which was quite possibly the best new movie I've seen in something close to a year. LOVED IT!!! Still thinking about it. Gotta buy it...

Five Snacks I Enjoy: Well, if by snacks you mean desserts, I'm set! OK, I'll try to lean a little more snackish...
1. graham crackers with peanut butter and milk (but sometimes Nutella and sometimes substituting chocolate chips and marshmallows to make s'mores...ok, let me be brutally honest, I enjoy any combination of peanut butter, Nutella, chocolate chips, and marshmallows on either graham crackers or tortillas for a sort of dessert quesadilla! whoops, I ended up with dessert after all - I'll try harder)
2. cheese
3. banana, Nesquik, milk/soymilk, and ice smoothies (there I go again so I'll append:) and fruit and smoothies
4. trail mix
5. Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Nut granola bars

Five Things I Would Do With 1 Million Dollars:
1. pay off my mortgage
2. landscape my entire backyard based on my sister's design
3. buy furniture for my whole house, all in one coordinating chunk
4. remodel my kitchen
5. invest, invest, invest (I don't think that has to count as 3 things, does it?)

Five Places I Would Love To Run (Away) To:
So I'll take this as travel dreams:
1. Europe (pretty much most of it, do I have to break it down?): Most interested in Italy, England, Scotland, Norway, and France (but only for the Louvre)
2. New York City
3. Anywhere terribly tropical and beachy
I get to stop now because #1 was really like #1-#5

Five TV Shows I Like: I'm really only a movie person but I love the Berenstain Bears and Sesame Street because they mean I get to go upstairs and sew. M and I do occasionally indulge in the Biggest Loser or Letterman.

Five Things I Hate Doing:
1. Cleaning. Period. (not organizing and tidying, just actual cleaning)
2. Making phone calls to people I don't know.
3. Waking sleeping children
4. Doing anything without my contacts in
5. Getting into a hot car without the AC already running full blast at my face and feeling my makeup pool and drip mixed with my copious sweat (READ: May through October here in Texas)

Five Biggest Joys Of The Moment:
1. Scott blows me kisses as I leave his room when I lay him down to sleep (I'm SO lucky that I got a good sleeper this time around)
2. Listening to Claire wonder what two numbers added together is and then figuring the answer out herself
3. Letting the kids jump without worrying about neighbors, washing our car as a family in the driveway, and debating paint colors - in other words, living in our own house
4. Having my own sewing/craft room. We'll see how long it lasts, but it's great for now.
5. M and everything about him - though I'd like to think this isn't just a joy of the moment :)

Five People That I Tag: I dunno. Ralphie already took most of the people I know really well, so I guess I'll inflict this on some unsuspecting acquaintances with blogs. Who knows if they'll all actually see this post and realized they've been tagged, but I guess then they'll luck out and be off the hook. Mary Beth Glauser, Jana Greenhalgh, Debbie MacKenzie, K King oh, and Janssen (though I can't help but wonder if she'll hate me for it - why didn't Ralphie tag her? does Ralphie know something I don't?).

Oh, and Ralphie, if you don't like the moniker I gave you, feel free to change it. When pretending I come even vaguely close to running in those circles, I go by the gangsta name Chili G Dawg. I wasted a lot of time in years past deciding on the perfect rapper name for myself, so don't let some whim of mine make you rush into yours :)

Scott's Morning Sickness

For awhile I was beginning to doubt the impossibility of my 19 month old son being pregnant. Scott threw up once each morning from Friday morning of last week through Tuesday morning. (For those who are counting, that's 5 days.) It was so weird. Poor kid. I think the hardest part for him was the fact that we wouldn't allow him his usual daily ration of a quart of whole milk. He still wanted all our food, but you know what they say: good appetite doth not a stable stomach make. (I think that's a proverb or something, right?) It broke my heart to refuse him food. (This furthers my suspicion that I have unhealthy attitudes towards food...)

Every time "it" happened it was before noon, sometimes in his crib before I got him in the morning, sometimes in my living room, and then nothing for the rest of the day. All I can say is hallelujah for the fact that my entire downstairs is tiled. I've never before experienced such calm feelings around a volatile volcano of vomit. (You didn't actually think I would spare you the gory details did you? I held out as long as I could, but I am still me.) I was very nearly cheerful even while cleaning up spew since there was no carpet involved. I would have to say that the award for most entertaining upchuck goes to Tuesday morning's remnants of a green popsicle from the night before on Scott's white crib sheets. Talk about "the technicolor yawn."

I still don't really know what it was that caused it all, I'm just glad it's over. His pediatrician suspects the culprit was "mucus buildup" from a nasty cold. All I know is that I'm almost going to miss Claire talking on her toy cell phone to the "throw up cleaner guys." Man, who are they and how do I get them to come???

Look for my impending post on our broken refrigerator adventures... anybody have a spare fridge they wanna let me borrow?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Posting for the Sake of Posting

I'm dying to post, but everything I want to write about right now will take more time to compose than I have right now. Why, why can't I be more concise? Well, at least this post will be short.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Craigslist Handicap

Craigslist is great. I'm so excited to actually get to utilize it now that we have a house. Most recently I've been obsessively watching Craigslist looking for a bookshelf for our playroom. I know what I want, but I don't have much money I can let myself spend on it right now. That's the whole reason I'm looking on Craigslist, right? But even then, slim pickings. My "dream listing" would be in my immediate neighborhood and start something like this :

"FREE Brand New White Bookshelves"
"4 shelves, 36" x 42" solid wood"

But then, knowing my luck, it would end like this:

"No access to email, please call"

And that would probably be the end of it for me. I HATE calling people on the phone. It's not so bad if I already know you. In fact, occasionally I enjoy it. But engaging complete strangers in phone conversation? Torture. So even if I see shelves that look great (or anything else for that matter), if I can't email about them and I have to call, I'll wimp out. I'll rationalize that there's something wrong with them, or that they're not quite what I'm looking for. It's pitiful. I guess you could call it telephobia Craigosa. It has a nice "ring" to it. Ha ha! I'm so punny! I better just stop writing now...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Life Story of a Vegetable?

The other day M and I mentioned the movie "The Bourne Ultimatum" in front of Claire. She looked at us quizzically and asked, "The Born Old Tomato"???

(Seriously, let's not get into the fruit vs. vegetable debate. I feel sorry for poor tomatoes, caught in the crossfire... For the purposes of this post, I speak from a culinary rather than botanical standpoint. And if any tariffs come into play, at least we have the Supreme Court ruling Nix v. Hedden to settle things.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Exercise Your Right to Vote

For those of you who haven't already excitedly emailed me about it, go check this out! I've been selected for Whoorl's Hair Thursday this week. Go vote - not for something worthwhile and meaningful, but for the future of my hairstyle. (This poll however is not a binding contract. I'm not sure I can afford our new mortgage and the maintenence of the red highlights that seem to be winning.)

I'm excited. Now if I could only get on again with option 2 - what if I want to try to go wavy/curly despite my inability to figure out what to do with the top part of my hair while the ends are all crazy and curly. Taking suggestions...

What's Worse Than "My Dog Ate My Homework"?

Yesterday I had the privilege of going to Office Depot three, that's right 3, times. The first time was totally legit. I needed printer ink to generate the stacks of cutouts and worksheets that accompany teaching Claire's preschool. Then I went to Hobby Lobby (could it have any lamer of a name?) for ribbon and I was intending to purchase white cardstock there (again, for the mounds of preschool arts and craps, I mean crafts). But after seeing the price, I conceded to buy the overkill 250 sheet pack at Office Depot since it was almost 1/2 the price per sheet. So back to Office Depot I went since it was only a couple shops down the strip mall. As it was, this second trip may have seemed excessive to some people, but this was also legit if you know me and my ability to turn frugality from virtue to vice. Then I headed home, but I stopped at an ATM to deposit the check I had from my friend Liz. She had written it to pay me back for her portion of our Costco excursion, so, as anyone who has ever been to Costco knows, it was no $5 check. It was gone. Not in my purse, not in the car, nowhere to be found. Aw crap! But I wasn't absolutely sure I hadn't left it on the counter at home by accident and the kids were starving, so we headed home. (Besides, I think Claire might actually have run away from home if I made her miss Berenstain Bears at it's new mid-day time for the third time in a row. I hate fall TV schedule changes.) The check wasn't at home. I had dropped it at one of the stores, I just knew it. Or maybe I hadn't dropped it. Maybe Scott had pulled it out of my purse in a desperate attempt at retribution for the fact that I wouldn't let him get out of the cart to run amok. This option seems likely to me because not only does it make me feel better about myself, but Scott and I and Costco checks have a lot of emotional baggage. But I'm getting ahead of myself. For more on this, wait for the next paragraph. Anyway, I couldn't find the check from Liz so I called her and left a disjointed message on her cell, as if this would do any good. Then I came to my senses and called the stores I had been to. The checkout clerk at Office Depot had found the check. (Figures, this was the location where the worst of the battle of the cart happened with Scott...) So after the Berenstain Bears and a quick lunch, we all piled back into the minivan to visit Office Depot for a third time. I called Liz to tell her I had found the check and to ignore my previous message and in reality probably succeeded only in a) confusing her even more, b) causing her to question my sanity, and c) further scaring her off of ever having children. On the way home, we took the time to deposit the check before Scott tried to incinerate it or anything.

Okay, no really though, this story has some scary parallels to another bad Costco check experience. I took my friend Meleah with me to Costco once when Scott was a baby. I don't remember how old he was, but he had definitely been sitting up for awhile. He was old enough to reach out and grab things from his cart perch. So somewhere between checking out at Costco and getting my receipt and a check from Meleah, stopping for a quick bite of pizza, and the door, disaster struck and it's name was Scott. I got to the special people whose job it is to snoop over the things you have purchased ("You buy your condoms at Costco, huh?") and then drag a highlighter across your receipt (I know their job has a point, I just can't remember what it is), I lost my receipt. Finally I found two soggy halves in Scott's hands. I held them out pitifully to the Costco employee and they quickly touched their highlighter to them, barely concealing their disgust at the dripping mess. Meleah laughed with me and we went home. You would think I would have learned. Scott had already shown a real penchant for putting paperwork into his mouth even prior to this outing. But when we got home, I left my purse somewhere on the floor. Later that day I found a soggy wad in Scott's mouth (I could always tell when he had something in his mouth because it was the only time it wasn't hanging open spouting copious streams of drool). After fishing the soggy wad out, I began to unfurl the mess to see what it was this time. Then I recognized a corner of Meleah's check. The check had been for over $100. I freaked out and searched everywhere for the rest of it. In the end I found about 2/3 of the check but was forced to the realization that Scott had genuinely ingested the rest of it. I don't know if I remember feeling any stupider than when I made that phone call to Meleah. "So, Meleah, um... Scott ate the check you gave me. Is there any way you could write me another check? I'll give you the soggy remains of your previous one to prove I won't try to deposit the partially devoured one!" Fortunately Meleah is one of the nicest people ever and all she did was laugh and write me another check.

I can't decide if what I should learn from all this is a) I shouldn't take people to Costco with me and let them write me checks as my only repayment for their Kirkland Signature indulgences, b) I should keep checks in a safer place than tucked haphazardly into my purse, or c) I should sell Scott to the gypsies.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why Couldn't It Have Been Pound Cake?

Last night I deserted M and went out with the girls. It was fantastic on so many levels. I mean, first of all, there is the undeniable fact that our minivan is not as much fun to drive as the car M drives to work. He usually drives our turbo charged, chipped (modded to go faster), VW Passat with a leather interior and CD changer. All this our minivan is not. And what better time to enjoy a little unnecessary acceleration than late at night when very few people are on the suburban thoroughfares of my neighborhood? So even if all I'm doing is picking up milk, going out in the evenings and getting to drive the "grown-up car" is always a treat. And on top of that, I got to go out with Ralphie, Janssen, and Kristi. I LOVE these people! It was like our own little BlogHer, but without anyone getting drunk (none of us drink). But wait, there's more! [cue bad announcer voice]

That's right, not only did I get a night out with the girls, freedom from my kids for a few hours, and some reckless driving time, but we went out to The Melting Pot. This is a perfect place for me to go with girls because M is not very excited by the idea of fondue restaurants. I suppose I can see it from his perspective. Anything you eat comes in little bite size pieces, so you won't exactly be cutting into a porterhouse. I'm pretty sure the main reason to go is for the sake of eating everything but the kitchen sink dipped in molten chocolate for dessert, and M doesn't eat sugary things because he's hypoglycemic. And taking long thin colored sticks and poking at your food from afar is somehow very effeminate. It's probably second only to sticking your pinky up while drinking from a teacup. So it was good to go there with girlfriends. It was SO delicious. But how could melted cheese and melted chocolate not be good? (As long as they're not actually mixed together of course...) I'm pretty sure that's basically the definition of yummy. I mean, are not fancy cheeses and chocolates the symbols of prosperity, gourmet dining, and decadence?

But the crowning glory of the whole evening was our poor waiter. He was a really nice guy. He was probably being overly chatty and friendly because it was "ladies night" and maybe lots of other groups of married women dig flirty waiters. Whatever. He was polite, attentive, and even a little indulgent, so what more could we ask for? A waiter that wasn't apparently hard of hearing. I usually consider myself a little hard of hearing, but I have the sense to ask someone to repeat themself when I know there's a chance I didn't hear something correctly. I guess not this guy. Janssen was making conversation about what it must be like to be a waiter there and he misheard/misunderstood her and thought she was saying that it would be unfortunate if your waiter was a jerk. After a long discourse from this guy on The Melting Pot's hiring practices, we redirected him to understand that we actually thought it must be unfortunate for the waiters when guests are jerks since you spend so much time with a single table there. Fine fine. Forgivable. People make mistakes. Moving on. Then he asked if any one wanted fresh pepper when our salads came. Apparently he understood Ralphie's "I'm good," to mean, "Pile it on!" The result was the fastest response of "WHEN!" I've ever heard. And last but not least, Janssen's question of, "How late are you open?" was met with the full history of how long that particular location had been in operation and a full floor plan of their new restaurant in downtown. He was really nice, but most of the time I just wanted him to go away so we could get back to chatting about the fallout of other people googling themselves and finding your blog. (Fortunately, I think the chances of this waiter ever googling "Melting Pot" and "hard of hearing" and then realizing this must be him I'm talking about are next to nothing.) Then we had dessert. He humored us by doing two different chocolate concoctions and then heard us rave about the brownies. (Seriously, these things deserve a little dedicated blog time. They were so good that I couldn't believe they were created with the sole intention of then dipping them into MORE chocolate. I love chocolate, and dipping those suckers into more chocolate was actually over the top for me. I still did it, but that's just because I couldn't resist the pull of the molten goodness in front of me. I think I would have dipped in the celery from our cheese course if we'd had any leftover. Any excuse to scrape every last bit of that chocolate out of the pot...) So he brought us a few extra brownie chunks. It was very nice of him, but we were almost disappointed. Some how it would have been a better end to the evening if he had misheard us and shown up with extra bits of the unremarkable pound cake. Oh well, I guess I can't expect everything to be perfect!

We even took a couple photos, but my camera of course decided that then was the best time to be on the fritz, so none are in my possession. Stupid camera - why can't it just die all the way instead of clinging to life in an annoying way that usually involves working fine until I actually need it?

I Hate Stay Stitching

Why is it that even when you find a hobby that you love there has to be some little bit of it you despise? It's seems like such a depressing fact of life that even hobbies have "chores."

Take my current sewing aspirations. Before I actually get to enjoy sewing that feels like I'm creating something, I have to do obnoxious things like mark all the stupid little dots on the fabric and do the stay stitching around the neck. Ugh. I'm psychotic and I like tedium, and yet this is too much for me...

Friday, September 7, 2007

Ah, the Wisdom of Children

Claire's first day of preschool was yesterday. She had SO much fun. She won't stop talking about it. It makes me so happy that she's enjoying it so much. (Nevermind the fact that I got to go shopping with only Scott in tow and found two, yes count them, two pairs of shoes for me on sale and three polos for Scott for 99 cents each!!! M gave me mad props for being the "alpha gatherer.")

There is, however, one part of Claire's play-by-play recap of preschool that keeps making me want to laugh my guts out even though I've heard it about ten times. It's very hard to keep a straight face as I gently correct her mispronunciation. Claire keeps telling us all about how they had "Arts and Craps" time at preschool. I think she shows a wisdom beyond her years...

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Book Hiatus

Finally! I finished reading Harry Potter 7!!! I held out for so long hoping that M would be able to find the time to read it with me (like we did for #6), but he's just so busy at work. I even stalled myself by reading books 1-6 again, but I just couldn't wait any longer. The disaster that is my life shows the results.

Why can't I just read a little every now and then? I can sometimes tear myself away from magazines, but not books. (M points out that I am still a total freak because I read magazines from cover to cover like they're a book.) I just can't get ANYTHING done once I start a book. Fortunately I usually manage to feed and clothe my family between paragraphs, but that's about it! Well, I suppose I usually stop reading a book every now and then since I haven't figured out a way to read in the shower. Once I start a book, it's like the blinders go on and I have to just plow ahead, hardly getting a chance to enjoy the process of reading because I am so consumed with finishing the book. It doesn't help that I'm such a PAINFULLY slow reader that it takes me forever to finish a book. It's so pitiful and it creates a vicious cycle. The house is such a disaster that I feel like the only hope is to just finish the book so I can move on, which leads to more domestic negligence, and so on and so forth... My poor kids.

There seems to be only one solution for me. The obvious solution is to just not read, but that just isn't an option for me. So instead I have to read in "shifts." A normal person would devote say, some portion of the day to reading, but since that doesn't work for me, I devote say, a few weeks, and then I take a book hiatus. It's my last desperate bid for balance in my life. So now I begin a reading break so that I can organize my house and sew Halloween costumes. Every time I sit down at the table to eat, there's this aching emptiness. What am I supposed to look at, my food?!?!? Every time I get Scott down for his nap, I automatically feel the urge to run downstairs and take a load off in front of a book. But no, I must deny myself. The book break must continue, at least until I'm out of magazines...