Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Haul Out the Holly

It's that time again- time to pull out all the Christmas decorations and begin to ready ourselves for the season of merriment. I'm not sure why, but I do not have the best attitude about it this year. I sort of want to take a nap that lasts through the entire season.

I don't know what this holiday ennui is all about, this year. I've been trying to figure it out. I haven't really established a connection with my new church, that might be part of it, since Christmas was always so special in our home church. Also, neither of my older kids will be here for Christmas, and that's a bummer. But as I've considered further, I think what it really boils down to is...

It's freaking November 30th! Good grief! Christmas decorations have been up in stores forever, and commercials have been singing about getting your shopping done. Didn't we used to at least get to celebrate Thanksgiving before the commercial side of Christmas punched us in the nose? A radio station in my town has been playing Christmas music for a week now. I love Christmas music, don't get me wrong, but didn't that whole thing used to start December 1st?

Many people I know have already put up their decorations. Some of my overachieving friends have finished their shopping. I've never been considered an overachiever, in any way, so it should surprise no one that I have approximately three items purchased, out of the roughly three trillion items I will need to purchase before Christmas Eve. However, hold on...

It's freaking November 30th! I have 24 whole days to shop! More than three weeks! So what if we don't have a tree yet? Where is it written that we have to have a Christmas tree before we've even finished digesting Thanksgiving turkey?

So I think it's going to be ok. I think I'm going to pull it out. I'm already starting to plan the Christmas menu, so that counts, right?

There is one thing I will be dragging out of storage tomorrow morning, no matter what, and that is...

Our Advent calendar. Because what better way is there to get into the spirit of the season than making a concerted effort to spend some time each day remembering what the season is all about? I may not be there yet, but by Christmas Eve, I have complete faith that I'll be singing carols with a full heart, eagerly anticipating Christmas morning.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Another Silly Kid Story

So really, if you're tired of silly kids stories, please skip this one. I had one started that was not about my funny Small person, but I didn't finish it, and I'm almost out of time. Anyway, this made me laugh today, and it's too long for a Facebook status, so I thought I'd share.

(Isn't that a very 2011 thing to say? I wonder how soon "Facebook status" will be a dated reference?)

Small One is tenderheaded. Now, I do not believe in tenderheaded children, truth be told. I prefer to call them "whiny", and I do not allow complaints about having hair brushed. However, Small likes to protest loudly, and while I used to threaten and cajole, I have now hit upon a solution that pleases us both, without my having to shave her head.

I play a preschool version of the adult "would you rather" game. Remember that one? Where you pick two improbably awful scenarios and have to choose the lesser evil? My game with Small is one I like to call "What would hurt worse than having your hair combed?"

It goes like this:

Small: Owwww!
Me: Do you suppose this hurts worse than having your arm bitten off by a shark?
Small: (considers for a minute) No, probably not.
Me: Which do you think would hurt worse- being punched in the nose or having your hair combed?
Small: Being punched in the nose, I think! (big grin)
Me: What else do you think may hurt worse than having your hair combed?
Small: Sitting on the sharp stem part of a pumpkin. (laughs uproariously)

That last line is not a for instance, by the way, it is always her answer. The first time, she demonstrated, with a stuffed rabbit sitting on a pumpkin and then flying off, yelling like a cartoon character. Whatever, it works. She hasn't whined about how much it hurts since we started the game.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Flashback: Anthropomorphism Revisited

In trying to delete some drafts that just never made it into viable posts, I came across this one, from September of 2009. I have no idea why it didn't make the cut, it made me laugh just remembering it. So... without further ado, a blast from the not too distant past:

The other day, my Small One was eating apple slices and talking to herself... I wasn't really listening, I was cleaning the kitchen, busying about. When I did tune in, though, I noticed that she wasn't really talking to herself, she was having a conversation with the largest apple slice, that went something like this:

Apple Slice: Hey! Did you just eat my baby?

Small: Yeah, I did, I ate your baby.

Apple Slice: Oh no! You ate my baby! That wasn't very nice.

Small: Oh yeah? Well, guess what? Now I'm gonna put you in my mouth!

So weird, my Small One.

But tonight, she was dawdling over her beef stew, and I hit upon an idea. Voicing the beef, I squealed, "Oh, please don't eat me!!!!!!!!"

Immediately, she picked up her fork. "Oh, I will eat you!" she said, "And then I will eat all your friends!"

She polished off the beef stew. Am I encouraging something bad here, do you think? I can't say that I care much, as long as she finishes her dinner.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Sunday of Advent Flashback

Came across this the other day, and got a little misty over the way things used to be.
(The soloist is our own dear MC, circa 2007)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thankful for Game Changers

I've been reading a bunch of blogs today, over at BabyCenter's "Momformation" section, and today they are mostly about being thankful for pivotal moments in life. Of course, even though it is important to be grateful and appreciative of all the things in our worlds, and all the people, and all of that, I think it's even more crucial to truly appreciate those moments that gave us an entirely new world view. The most interesting thing to me about these moments is that, for the most part, they're pretty awful.

You rarely hear a story where someone says "I got everything I wanted, and it changed my life." Getting what you want rarely inspires change, it typically promotes complacency or, at its worst, smug self satisfaction. "Look at me! I get everything I want! I must be fantastic." The life changing moments, for the most part, are not what you think they'll be, the fantastic things you anticipate. The life changing moments are the ones that suck.

When my third child was born, I had a really difficult time, postpartum. Physically, I developed a systemic infection that made it impossible to breathe. I was nursing, and the antibiotics made my baby gassy and cranky, and so I was an emotional wreck. Mentally, I was exhausted and felt like I'd made a horrible mistake, having another baby at 38 years old.

Throughout the pregnancy, I had pushed myself to the limit. My company was in the midst of upheaval, and I was in charge of much of the transition. It was strangely emotional, because I had to talk several local business owners into continuing to do business with us, and I was responsible for many things that were actually beyond my control. Even though my schedule was flexible, it was extremely hectic. I sometimes worked day shifts, sometimes night shifts, sometimes worked from home, sometimes had meetings in other parts of the city. Driving all over the place, in a city noted for traffic, was made more difficult by the fact that our car at the time was a little old clunker with no air conditioning. In the South. In the summer.

We hosted an exchange student for about half of the pregnancy, which was a strain, because I suddenly had three adolescents instead of two. In addition, my daughter was homeschooling, and had many obligations, from academic classes to ballet lessons to babysitting gigs. Because she was only twelve, I had to do most of the transporting, and spent hours each week shuttling her back and forth. I was a very active member of the home school community, serving on the board of our group and running, with friend who was also pregnant, one of the more stressful events of our yearly schedule. I was very active in my church, teaching Sunday school classes and serving on a committee.

On top of all of this, my sister, who lived four hours away, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, I'm not making that all about me, certainly, but I was so concerned about her that I did try to be there for her as much as humanly possible. Mostly, this was long distance, but sometimes I drove up there, as well.

Looking back, I have no idea how I did all that while I was pregnant. I was driven by this fear that if I didn't do these things they wouldn't get done, and everything would fall apart. I'd been through that before, at the end of my first marriage, where I took my hands off the controls and watch everything disintegrate. I never wanted to live through that again. (Although, the lesson I learned that time is that control is largely an illusion.)

But when the baby was born a month early, and my health made me incapable of living up to my responsibilities, guess what? It didn't matter. I'm not saying nothing fell apart, some things did. I quit that job, for example, because stepping back from it I realized it was detrimental to my overall well-being. My twelve year old got very proficient at public transit, but that's ok, because it will serve her well later in her life, I'm sure.. The home school group not only got along without me, they, along with my church family, made sure my family was well-fed during my down time.

I discovered that I am, in fact, not responsible for everything. And it made me think really hard about how I want to spend my time on earth. Do I want to invest so much time and energy in external projects that I fall apart? Do I want to run so hard and so fast that the things I do for my family become one more obligation, done without joy or true connection? No, in fact, I do not.

I halfway got this lesson right after Small was born, and the lesson was completed a year and a half later, when I broke first my leg, then my arm, in rapid succession. The lesson is this: understand that everything is not important, and choose what is.

Now I choose my commitments. I say "no" more often. I hang back to see if anyone else will step in, if I'm not completely enthusiastic about a project. I say "no" more, personally, too. I have learned to treat my time as a gift, whether I'm bestowing it upon someone or giving it to myself. I have learned to see myself, not as a part of the machinery, that has to keep turning no matter what, but as an individual who deserves time off from everything sometimes, even my children.

This is not to say I'm now a completely selfish individual who only does what I want to do. However, I pause before jumping in. I carefully turn things over in my head before saying yes. I give myself the same consideration I'd give to someone else, and I've learned to relax and not worry so much about things. Ultimately, it is all going to work out.

That's the gift I was given, at one of the lowest points of my life. How about you, reader? Was there a game changing moment for you, that forever changed the way you live your life?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Photo Fun

I know, I know, I just posted a photo on Wednesday, and so it's cheating to have another photo blog so soon, but I promise, there are extenuating circumstances. I was working on this lovely piece about life changing moments and so forth, which I totally intend to post in the next day or two, when I took a break to cook a turkey.

Yes, it was Thanksgiving yesterday, but yesterday we ate at my mom's house, and today we have out of town company, so I did the whole shebang again. I'd had the turkey thawing in the fridge for almost a week, but when I pulled it out of its wrappings, there was still ice in the cavity! I put the bird into the sink and began rinsing out the inside with warm water, and stuck my hand in to break up the ice and retrieve the giblets. I pulled out the neck, no problem, but there were no giblets in there. Instead, I came back with this:

What in the heck is that thing? Part horror movie prop, part robot? (I'm assuming the horror movie isn't about robots, of course.) Seriously. Those things on the top are tubes, they look like broken off plastic straws. Anyone have a thought? What is it and why was it in my turkey?!?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: Thanksgiving Edition

I have a great family, a strong marriage, a nice house, fabulous friends, good health, and a fun job. These are things that I thank God for continually, and they are things for which I am truly grateful. However, this Thanksgiving I thought I'd go a different way, and talk about the little things that put the icing on my cake. And so, without further ado...

Thirteen things for which I'm Thankful, Aside from the Obvious:
(In no particular order)
  1. My cat's belly, and the fact that he allows me to touch it. This may seem silly to you, if you are not a cat owner, but for those of us with felines in our lives, the belly is one of the more scrumptious things about a cat. If you knew my last cat, you will understand my undying gratitude for a kitty who allows the belly to be touched, because the last one would have taken my arm off.
  2. DVR. I cannot stress this one enough. Before this year, I never had the pleasure of recorded television, and now I watch nothing else. Fast forwarding through boring parts and commercials? Priceless. 
  3. A husband who likes to have breakfast with the five year old. This is amazing, in that it allows me the time I need in the morning to drink coffee and think, before I have to start the day. A big tip of the hat to the Man for that one.
  4. The fact that the same Man who does breakfast also enjoys bedtime. Can I even begin to fully express my gratitude for the child free moments that bookend my day? I think not. As much as I adore that little chatterbox, by bedtime I have lost patience, and am eternally in the debt of the man who still has some at that time. 
  5. Canned pumpkin. No, really, I'm serious. Do you know how icky pumpkins are? All those seeds and strings- gross! And then, if I'm understanding the process correctly. I'd have to somehow cook the pumpkin and puree it into just the right texture... um, no thanks. Thank you, Libby's, for canning the pumpkin for us. And thank you, grocery store, for making a cheaper generic. And thank you again, Libby's, for putting your pumpkin pie recipe online so I can buy the generic and still make the good pie.  
  6. Yeast. While I'm in a culinary frame of mind, I can't help but think about yeast.How did the first person who used yeast figure that out? Genius! Thanks, yeast discoverer. I thank you, and my bread thanks you.
  7. Coffee. I know I'm stuck on the food category, but this is another stroke of genius, and another thing that I think... what the heck? How did someone think to grind up bitter tasting beans, and run hot water over them? What sort of crazy madness inspires someone to think of that? Again, a big fat thank you to whomever it was that made the thing that makes mornings possible for me.
  8. My small appliances. One more, before leaving the kitchen. Oh, crock pot, how I love you. How many nights you've saved my family from starvation, when mom had no time to do anything other than throw something into your gleaming pot and move on with her life. And Kitchen Aid stand mixer, don't think I've forgotten about you. I was initially resistant to your charms, but you won me over by practically baking everything all by yourself. I could go on, but I'll bid my lovely kitchen adieu, throwing just one more smooch, to my electric griddle, which we have used every day since I received it for my birthday.
  9. Cars. This may be too obvious, but then again, I was thinking the other day about how much we take cars for granted. There were many years when I did not own a car, and had to take scary public transportation, or walk everywhere and while I was admittedly thinner, I truly enjoy my current ability to go anywhere I want, any time I want, in an atmosphere in which no one ever pulls a knife. (Yet. Knock wood.)
  10. My computer. Another big thing that we all take for granted these days. Well, ok, maybe not everybody, but I bet if you are reading this blog, you rely on your computer, at least somewhat. For me, it's how I work, look everything up, communicate, and play Words with Friends. (Have I mentioned how vital that is to my work process?) Also, if I didn't have my computer, I'd have never met...
  11. My imaginary friends. No, they're not really imaginary, that's just what we sometimes call each other. I'm connected with an online mom's group that is truly wonderful, and if I'd been born fifty years earlier, I'd never have met them. How fantastic is it that we, in this day and age, can form real friendships, and have daily communication, with people who live on the other side of the planet?
  12. The weather. I know that sounds weird, but think about it. I totally love sunny days, especially this time of year, because I can take a walk, or watch my Small One play outside. I also love rainy days, because they're great for napping and my husband gets the day off. I like snowy days, because they're an anomaly. I like windy days, especially at the beach, because I like it when it's wild outside. I probably wouldn't like a blizzard, but I haven't really had to deal with one. I guess I should amend that, and say I'm grateful to live in the South, where the weather is really pretty delightful, most of the time.
  13. Online shopping, and especially eBay. I'm deeply grateful to whoever made it possible for me to shop in my pjs. This is the greatest thing ever for someone who hates the malls on a good day, and feels panicked by them during the holiday season. Also, pre-eBay, I had to go to consignment stores and sift through a jillion crappy things in order to find gorgeous kids' clothes that I would never be able to afford new, and now all I have to do is create a search. Unbelievably amazing.

Of course, I'm also deeply grateful for all sorts of wonderful things, much larger and more significant than these, because I'm an extremely blessed person. This Thanksgiving, I wish for all my readers a holiday in which to reflect on all the blessings, large and small. Happy Thanksgiving!

      Tuesday, November 22, 2011

      Quote of the Day Tuesday

      Do you ever stumble across a quotation that makes you laugh out loud, purely from recognition of an inherent truth?

      I don't really talk about my divorce, because it was a long time ago, (separated 16 years ago, divorce finalized 14 years ago), and because we have two children together, and because we try to maintain a friendly working relationship, which would not benefit from the opening of old wounds and stirring up of old dust. But something I read today flashed me back, and seemed really true. Knowing others who are going through messy divorces at the moment, I thought I'd share.

      Late to jump on almost every bandwagon, I've just started reading Eat Pray Love. In the book, she quotes a friend of hers, describing the life experience of divorce as:

      "having a really bad car accident every single day for about two years."

      (Pretty sure my ex will laugh when he reads that, too.)

      Monday, November 21, 2011

      Mayflower Musings

      Small One goes to church preschool three days a week, and I really like her school. Truly. It becomes apparent during the holiday season, though, that this school does not particularly concern itself with the issue of political correctness. This is ok with me, because I definitely think it's possible to go too far the other way, but it does make me giggle when she sings songs like "Little Indian Flying Cloud" which ends with the traditional Native American greeting, "How!".

      Today, she got into the car with a drum made from a coffee can, on which she had drawn what she called "A Mayflower." Now, I know that her primary source of information about this vessel is probably "The Mouse on the Mayflower", a fine film narrated and sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford, which she viewed at school after last week's Thanksgiving luncheon. Therefore, I had some questions.

      "What do you know about the Mayflower?" I asked.

      "Um...nothing," she replied, "except that it's a boat that looks like this." (indicating the drawing on her drum)

      "Do you want me to tell you about it?" I asked.

      "Of course!" she answered.

      "Well," I began, "the Mayflower sailed from England with a bunch of people on it..."

      "Yes!" she interrupted, "Those were the Pilgrims!"

      "Yes," I confirmed, "Those were the Pilgrims. And they sailed across..."

      "The ocean!" she sang out, "All the way over to where the Indians lived!"

      "Yes," I said, "to what is now the United States of America. And they left England because..."

      "The king wouldn't let them pray the way they wanted to!" she crowed.

      So, yeah. For someone who doesn't know anything about the Mayflower, she knows a surprising amount about the Mayflower. Good job, Tennessee Ernie Ford! And, of course, Small One's school.

      Sunday, November 20, 2011

      Truth and Fiction

      I blog for a living. Some of the posts I write are basically advertisements for products, some are reviews of things like software or cars, and some are instructional, designed to help people in their everyday lives.

      I wrote one a few months ago about bathing cats. Then, yesterday, I actually bathed a cat, for the first time in a while. I would now like to amend my post, based on new experience. Below, I will excerpt part of the article, and in italics, I will put pieces of real world experience.

      Bathing a Cat:

      The best plan is to start when they are kittens, so that they get used to being bathed at a young age. Note: I have bathed the cat in question twice in his nine months on the planet. The first time, he was too small to object forcefully. The second time was yesterday. It was not pretty. Some pointers on cat bathing:
      • Clip the cat’s nails first; this will prevent you from being scratched.This is patently false. Even declawed cats will find a way to maim you. Because they still have claws in their back paws, they will become crazy cat contortionists, twisting themselves into improbable positions in order to bring their back claws over their heads so that they can kill you. Also, they will bite you.
      •   Run the water ahead of time. Fill the tub or sink, and fill a pitcher or two, so that you won’t have to run additional water to rinse your kitty. This sounds super logical, but no. The moment my cat's toe hit the water, he threw off about a third of his fur, and climbed the tile walls in a death defying escape attempt that nearly jerked my arms out of their sockets as he soared above my head and I tried to contain him.
      •  Sooth your kitty by speaking softly and petting him during the bath.Yes, yes. With what arm shall I pet him? One arm is already holding the scruff of his neck, the other is clamped on his body, and I'm trying to figure out how in the heck to get him lathered up. Now I should pet him? And let me just say, I began by speaking softly and sweetly to him, saying nice things like, "I know, baby, it's ok." and ended up speaking softly but through my clenched teeth, saying things like "Nothing bad has happened to you YET, you little bastard, but if you bite me again I'll drown your furry ass-face." 
      • Work quickly, to limit stress on the cat. Pardon me? Stress on the what, now? Here's a tip: work quickly, because there's only so long you can hold on to a furry, wet projectile.
      • If your cat really hates the bath, consider using wipes that are specially formulated for cats.Yes, well, this one might actually be a good tip, because, seriously. Though that was, admittedly, a good workout, it was also the least fun I've had in a long time.
      For the record, the cat and I have forgiven each other. I mean, how long can I be mad at this guy?

      And for his part, how long can he be mad at She-Who-Provides-Both-Food-And-Cuddles?

      Saturday, November 19, 2011

      Leaving Childhood

      So, the question asked the other day on BlogHer was "What is the moment that you leave childhood and enter adulthood?"

      That sounds easy, doesn't it? If you really think about it, though, it's a really complicated question, and one that was much easier to answer, I think, in previous generations.

      Is it some number? In some cultures, 13 is considered adulthood, in others, 15. Here in the US, in some ways you are considered an adult at 18, and in other ways, the magic number is 21.

      I have a 21 year old son. I treat him as an adult, in that I don't really boss him around, or give unsolicited advice, but he does still live with his father and attend school. He's not self supporting. So, that detracts from his adult status. Middle Child is convinced that she will be an adult in a few short months, when she turns eighteen. I remain unconvinced.

      So, is being self supporting the mark of adulthood? I don't know. Where does that leave people who have to rely on others, or on government support?

      I feel like I truly became an adult when my son was born. I'd been married for a year, we had an apartment and all, but it felt a little bit like playing house until he came along.

      But that's not fair. Plenty of people delay having kids, or decide against ever having them, and of course they are perfectly responsible adults.

      For some people, the first job is the mark of adulthood. For others, home ownership.

      I guess the answer to this question is specific to each person. What is it for you, readers? What was the magical moment that took you from child to adult? And do you think it's the same for everyone, or is the answer, as I believe, completely personal?

      Friday, November 18, 2011

      Procrastinating: Guest Blog Edition

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, so I named my topic for today in yesterday's blog, but now that today is actually here, I'm not into it. Hey, I wrote after I came home from a road trip, immediately before I succumbed to an obnoxious headache! What more can you ask from me, readers?

      Anyway, I'm not going to entirely cop out, I'm just not going to write it. Instead, I will leave you with this anecdote from my mom, which made me laugh really hard when she sent it to me in an email. So, with permission, and without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you, my mother:

      "My story today would be to blow off at the laws of this state. I tried to buy Guinness Stout, along with some food, on my way home from church. Even though it has been very obvious for years that I am well over 21, and it adds insult to injury that my grandson is 21, I have to show a picture ID. UGH! So at checkout, they asked for my ID. I gave them my birth date and age as I was pulling out my wallet, but they insisted that a picture ID was required. 

      Now you know I was pulled over last Saturday night for turning right on a red, and the policeman asked me to take my license out of my wallet and hand it to him, which I did! Today the license was not in its usual place. I took everything out of my purse, thinking I may have just put it into a slot and it had fallen into the bottom. Then I looked in every crevice of my wallet ~ all this with the line growing behind me, and the people glaring and whispering to each other. 

      I finally told them to keep the beer, I didn't need it anyway, when I decided to look behind a card, and finally found the license... not before feeling humiliated and aggravated completely unnecessarily! At that point I had to pick up all the contents of my purse from the countertop before I could exit.  

      It made me so angry for taking up my time and energy with such a stupid situation, that after I put my groceries into the car, I went back into the store and asked to speak to the manager. She stated that it is a state law for a picture ID to be shown with the purchase of any alcohol, and that they are checked regularly and penalized if they don't comply. I told her I spit on that state law and hope they can do something to change it, because it is a complete nuisance! 

      I also complained about the addition of about a dozen new handicap places. Maybe they don't want other people to shop there. I thank God that I am not handicapped, but for heaven's sake! Way to make it difficult for anyone else, who maybe just needs a break today, to park and get in and out of the store quickly. Way to go Publix. You've been my favorite store. Is all that changing?"

      I love my mom.

      Thursday, November 17, 2011

      Thursday Thirteen: Road Trip Edition

      On the BlogHer site, where NaBloPoMo is is hosted, there is a daily question, to inspire people who may be lacking inspiration writing a daily blog. After a full day on the road, that is me, for sure.

      Today's question is interesting, and I want to think about it, and write about it, but first...

      There is a side question you may be asking yourself: How does a four hour drive translate into a full day on the road? That answer seems to me to be worthy of a Thursday thirteen list.

      Thirteen things that always seem to extend my road trips with the girls:

      1. No matter how well I try to plan, there is always one more errand to run. 
      2. No matter how much I tell the girls that the errand will be "quick", they will always want to come in with me, and it will always take longer. 
      3. There is always one more person to see before I leave. In the one direction, I either have to get the animals squared away, or drop by Small's school, or speak to a neighbor, or drop something off at my mom's house or my sister's house (or both). In the other direction, there is always one more person I'm trying to squeeze in. 
      4. There will always be something weird with the car. Even if having it serviced was the one more errand I had to run, it will make a noise, or have a non functioning light, or something will be hanging off the bottom of it. 
      5. No matter when I leave, there will always be traffic somewhere.
      6. I will always think I'm smart enough to get around the traffic, by taking a detour. I am not. This kind of thinking once rerouted me through a completely different state.   
      7. No matter how many snacks I bring, I will forget something, and we will be hungry for whatever that was that we
      8. I, personally, will  always have to stop for the restroom more than I think I will. This includes the stop two miles from my house, which is absolutely ridiculous, I know, but sadly necessary.
      9. I always think gas is cheaper around the next corner. This necessitates my stopping for gas more times than necessary. Theoretically, a 250 mile drive would not require stopping for gas. Certainly, it will not require stopping for gas more than once, unless you stop for gas and think "Holy cow! No way am I paying this much for gas! It must be cheaper further on." When that happens, it just gets stupid.
      10. We will always get stuck behind people who insist on going ten miles under the speed limit. Typically, this will happen when we are so close to our destination that we can almost see it, which makes it even more frustrating.
      11. No matter how many times we stop for gas, even if everyone uses the restroom, someone will have to use the restroom between stops. This is different from number 8, because in this case, I am not talking about myself.
      12. When stopping at a Cracker Barrel, no matter how well intentioned, no matter how much we decide beforehand to only hit the restroom and then move on, we will always lollygag.Because, come on! They have fake fireflies in jars, and talking dogs who hit on you, and bouncy balls with eyeballs in them!Also, even if we do not stop at Cracker Barrel, one of the stops will take an inordinately long time, because we are easily distracted, by things like pink cowboy hats and fake hamsters, and cheap DVDs that we must look through, even though we rarely buy them. (I say rarely, because I think we bought one once. I think it was about vampires, or zombies, or martial arts, or something. Maybe a combination of two or three of those things.)
      13. No matter how long the drive, no matter how tired I am at the end of it, there are moments when I totally allow time to slip away. This is because there is something about a road trip that bonds us, that makes us sing together, talk about genealogy, tease each other about things without anyone's feelings getting hurt. My girls giggle with each other in a way that does not happen very often when we are not in motion. And for that, I will take the extra time, even if I am worn out by the time I get off the road.

      Tomorrow, I'll answer today's question... "What is the moment that you leave childhood and enter adulthood?"

      Tuesday, November 15, 2011

      Multi-tasking and Inspiration

      Today, on the NaBloPoMo site, there was a question about finding inspiration for writing. Also, today, I read an article about the negative impact of multitasking.

      So, of course, I'm multitasking, by trying to think about where I find inspiration while beating myself up for multitasking.

      My inspiration, of course, comes from my family. Sometimes, in fact, there is so much inspiration that I am paralyzed, because the last thing I want to do is post something I find hysterical, at the expense of a family member's feelings. I've had a blog or two that rubbed someone the wrong way, so I've tried to tone it down, but sometimes that's a bummer, because there's gold in the embarrassing stuff.

      Anyway, on to multitasking. I'm the queen of the multitask, perpetually doing a ton of things at once. I read today that this is a bad thing, because it apparently increases my stress, lowers my IQ, and decreases my productivity. I should knock it off, I guess, but honestly, I don't know how. The writer of the article did an experiment and stopped multitasking for a week, and apparently it was super fantastic.

      But see, I think he has a wife. Because he mentioned that at one point he broke the rules when his two year old came into his office, which leads me to believe that someone else had the two year old up to that point.

      Also, he said he had phone conversations without doing anything but being on the phone, and I can say without reservation: that would make me nuts. I currently have a situation in which my phone only works in the upstairs of my house, which means that I can only do upstairs things while I am on the phone. At least once a day, I stand in my room, on the phone, internally freaking out about something downstairs that needs my attention. Being on the phone, even in a conversation I want to have, makes me feel vastly unproductive. My solution? If I know I will be on the phone, I have something in my room that needs to be done, like laundry to fold, or some other menial task. Or, I talk on the phone when I'm driving. I know, I know, but it's the only way I feel productive on the phone. The idea of doing nothing else is crazy to me.

      I was talking to someone about the multitasking thing today, and we think that, while it is nice to be able to focus on one thing, it probably means someone else is multitasking on your behalf.

      On another note, I don't know that I am capable of a complete absence of the multitask. There are times when I can really focus on one thing, and truly get something accomplished. However, more often, when I try to focus on just one task, I get stumped. Staring blankly at a page, I sit without a thought in my head. Play a round of Mahjong, and I'm back on track. I'm just saying.

      One thing I have been trying to do, over the past several months, is truly focus on people when I'm with them. If I'm hanging out with someone, even if it's "just" my girls, and I'm "just" driving them somewhere, I try to give them my full attention. That has nothing to do with reading an article, I just started feeling like I was missing the point of my life by always thinking about whatever is coming up next.

      How about you, readers? Are you multitaskers? Or have you learned to focus on one thing at a time, make the most of life as you're living it? Or is there a happy medium that combines both sensibilities?

      Monday, November 14, 2011

      The Flattering Nature of Children

      My back is itchy. I don't mean just now, I mean in general. I keep a back scratcher by my bed at all times, because otherwise, my itchy back would drive me nuts. I think I may have inherited the itchy back thing from my dad. But I digress.

      Anyway, I'm not home right now, and so I do not have my back scratcher. Thus, my back is ever itchy.

      I'm also sharing a bed with Small One. The other night, she saw me trying in vain to scratch the part of my back that I can't reach, and she asked me if I wanted her help. I pulled up the back of my shirt, and said "Do you see anything back there that would make my back itch?"

      She looked for a minute, then said, "Well... there's a LOT of hair back here... and a bunch of lumps."

      Nothing like a five year old to make you feel like a troll.

      (ps... disclaimer: I do NOT have a lot of hair and a bunch of lumps on my back. Just saying.)

      Sunday, November 13, 2011

      Lack of Brainpower Haiku Action

      This blogging each day
      Trying for inspiration
      Sometimes truly sucks

      or how about

      My brain will not work
      For anything resembling
      Blogs for work or play

      or maybe

      How dumb must I be
      To play games and rest all day
      When there's work to do?

      or the self excusatory...

      Sunday, day of rest
      Lounging with friends and children
      How can I force work?

      Saturday, November 12, 2011

      Working Ways

      Today, I have been sadly uninspired when thinking about this blog. I could say it's because I've been preoccupied with work, but that would be a dirty lie, because, even though I have a metric butt-ton of work to do this weekend, I have not yet begun to work. Well, actually, that's not quite true, I'm in phase one. Maybe the best way to go on this post is to explain my working strategy.

      Phase One: Preparation. 
      This is the part where I get ready to work. This may last five minutes, or five hours, depending on how much I do not want to get started. In this phase, I sort through my assignments, and decide which ones should have priority. I typically go through the folder in which I keep my completed assignments, and file them. Sometimes I create a new folder, and drag things into it...again, this is really dependent on how very much I do not feel like working. Sometimes I rename things.

      Next, I open as many word documents as I need for the day's assignments. I put in the titles, a summary of the assignment, any pertinent links, and whatever else I feel I need to get started. Another part of preparation is deciding which of the television shows I've dvr'ed will provide the background distraction for my inner dumb guy whilst I work. Now it's time to move forward.

      Phase Two: Break Time

      Clearly, all that preparation has earned me a break. Look how cleaned out my folders are! They are practically shiny! And my word docs are all ready for me to put words on them. Now I need coffee, and maybe, a snack.

      Phase Three: Words with Friends
      Now, to the untrained mind, this might look like an extension of phase two. Far from it! How will I ever have enough words to write with unless I hone my word-thinking-up skills by playing Scrabble.

      Phase Four: Reboot the Computer
      Words with friends always freezes my computer.

      Phase Five: Easing back in. 
      Now that my computer has rebooted, I should really check my email. Also, I should see if everything's going well with my friends on my "mommy board". And I probably should check my bank balance. If there's money in there, I should balance my budget spreadsheet and maybe pay a bill or two. After all,  I wouldn't want the power going off while I'm in the middle of all this work I'm doing!

      Phase Six: Research
      During this phase, I read many articles about my topics. The number of articles is directly related to how much I already know about the topic. If, say, I'm writing a post about how to throw a child's birthday party, I read one, maybe two articles, because, seriously, I already know how to do that. If, on the other hand, I am writing on new computer hardware, or how much torque a Mercedes engine has (what does that even mean?), I read about fifty thousand articles. I look up words in the subject matter, and search for articles based on the words I have found in the definition. I copy and paste pertinent text. Note: I do not actually write during this phase.

      Phase Seven: Deep Thinking
      This is also known as the "Go Fish" phase, wherein I play a game with my Small One, or if she's at school, I might vaccuum a room or do a run of laundry. This may not seem like working, but seriously, this is when I get some of my best work done.

      Phase Eight: Words into Docs
      Having come up with brilliant intros during my deep thinking time, I pound them onto the page with astounding clarity. Sometimes I get so inspired that I write entire posts during this phase, though that is not a terribly common occurrence. Regardless, this is the phase in which I am head down in my work, oblivious to anything that may be going on around me.

      Phase Nine: Recess
      This is the part where I play Mahjong, or take the dog out, or play with the cat, or the kid, or play anything to keep from having to think about torque or Pentiums, or what have you. Phases eight and nine often alternate across several cycles, depending on how hard the topics of my post.

      Phase Ten: Wherein I mimic that guy from Sesame Street.
      Remember the musician from Sesame Street? The one who would pick out tunes on the piano, get halfway through, forget the lyrics, and then bang his head on the keys, crying "I'll NEVER get it right! Never never never!" That's me in phase ten. Sometimes I really and truly determine that I can't possibly make deadline, which is when I write to my editor and ask for an extension. Most times I just despair of ever finding the right words to complete my assigned tasks. This is a great time to go pick up Small from school, and maybe go to the grocery store.

      Phase Eleven: I am a Supergenius. 
      Look at that! I have deceived people into thinking I understand torque! Unbelievable! This is where I turn in my work, and pat myself on the back, and do something I actually want to do, like sleep, or snack, or watch tv that requires me to pay attention, or, yes, play Words with Friends. My confidence is back, I'm on top of the world, and I am DONE with work. Until tomorrow.

      How about you? Are you laughing at me or with me? How does your process happen?

      Friday, November 11, 2011

      Mushy times, or, Happy Anniversary to Us

      Yesterday, as I've mentioned, was my eleventh wedding anniversary. This means I've been in a relation with the Man for fifteen years, from friendship, through extremely tumultuous on again off again dating, and finally into marriage and children. It's been a roller coaster, for sure, but I can't say I've ever met anyone with whom I'd rather share the ride.I meant to give him a card, or a note, or something, yesterday, but it was hectic, and I didn't manage it. So now, since I'm posting something every day, I thought I'd write something nice about him. And because it's my blog, I'm allowed to be a little self indulgent. Don't read any further, if you don't like mushy stuff.

      One of the pivotal first moments of our relationship, for me at least, was Halloween of 1996, when I casually mentioned at work that I didn't think I could afford anything as frivolous as a jack-o-lantern that year, I arrived home to find several giant pumpkins on my porch. He came over that night, after his band practice, and we stayed up until the wee hours scooping out all the pumpkin guts so we could carve them with the kids the next day. I was so incredulous that a college guy would go out of his way for me and my small people, I just couldn't believe he was for real. That night he told me I was the most likable person he knew, and I practically looked for the hidden camera, it seemed so surreal.

      We were both in complete denial of any romantic connection at that point. It was four years before we would get engaged, and then married a month later. Those four years were spent building a friendship that is still an amazing amount of fun, even fifteen years after we first met. He still makes me laugh. He can be incredibly dry, or he can be incredibly silly, and he is the reigning king of dumb jokes. He thinks, for example, that Argosy University is where they study argyle leprosy. That might not make you laugh, but it cracks me up every time I see the sign.

      Small One says he's the silliest person she knows. He is a fantastic Daddy, completely involved with her. He's been a wonderful step-dad. He's a kind, generous husband. And I think maybe Small summed it up best a couple of weeks ago. "Do you know what I love best about my Daddy? He knows everything about black holes."

      That he does, my dear. Couldn't have said it better myself.

      And by the way, happy anniversary to us.

      Thursday, November 10, 2011


      Today was my eleventh wedding anniversary. I've been out of town, but I came home in time to have a special dinner with the Man and our girls, to celebrate. As a special treat, I decided to order a replica of our wedding cake top, from the same supermarket chain. I don't usually buy bakery cakes, so this was a real splurge.

      Our wedding cake was tasteful. It was a basket weave pattern, with fresh pansies on the top. (And down the side, but that's a different story.) It looked much like this, but with pansies instead of orchids. (Are those orchids?)

      I called the bakery, and gave really specific instructions, but when I went to pick it up, they handed me this:

      Now, I ask you, does that bear ANY resemblance to the original cake? Other than the basket weave? And that's not much of a resemblance, because, though you may not be able to tell from this photo,  on the new cake the basket weave is bright yellow!  I said to the guy, "No, no, no, it's supposed to look like wedding cake! This looks like crazy business! Why?"

      His reply? "Well, when you say basket weave, that's what you get."

      I stood silently, blinking at him. He called over the manager.

      The manager was a young woman, and she completely understood that this was a serious situation. I said to her, "I don't usually splurge, but I would've, to recreate my wedding cake, but this is... crazy madness."

      She got it. She said she understood that I must be truly disappointed. She then told me to pick any cake in the bakery, and there would be no charge.

      I, of course, picked this one:

      She asked me if I thought it would feed everyone I needed to feed, and I assured her that it would. (Since really, how much cake do two adults, a teenager, and a five year old need?) Then I started feeling guilty. I didn't want to deceive the lady into thinking I was throwing some sort of bash, when it was just a family party. (Not that I said anything to imply that, but still.) I mean, I'm sure the crazy cake tastes good, right? Can't we just take it home, laugh about it, and move on? I told the lady to forget about the chocolate one, I'd just take the wacky one.

      Can you guess how this story ends? Yup, she insisted we take both cakes. For free. Happy anniversary! And also, mmmmmm...

      Wednesday, November 9, 2011

      Tuesday, November 8, 2011

      Life, with Sound Effects

      We were recently lucky enough to have a day at Disney World. Yaay us! Also, yaay for my cousin, who works there and got us tickets.

      In any event, we had a great time. One of my all time favorite Disney rides is Splash Mountain, wherein characters from Song of the South sing cheery songs while visitors ride in logs down a lazy river, that suddenly turns into rapids, at which point the logs go over the waterfall.

      MC and I rode together, and unfortunately, the ride was malfunctioning. Not too terribly, but the logs kept slowing down and stopping, and a cheery voice would announce that Brer Bear and Brer Fox were causing trouble downstream, and so on. We started to get a little bit nervous, because the logs kept getting closer and closer together, as we neared the crucial "heading up to the falls point". I had a terrible mental image of all the logs creeping up the track to the top, then careening into a pile up at the bottom of the drop. Tick tick tick tick KaSMASHo!

      Nothing happened, we didn't die or anything, and in fact, the ride ended up being pleasantly uneventful, in a nice roller coaster-y sort of way. But when I retold the story to the Man, he was wildly entertained by my sound effects, and suggested that the next morning's paper would have featured, as its headline, "KaSMASHo!"

      Funny thing is, I actually heard a sound tonight that I can only describe in the same way. I'm visiting my cousin, and we attempted to make au gratin potatoes in the oven. Strangely enough, within 5 minutes of putting the oven-safe dish into the preheated oven, KaSMASHo!

      Were you aware that this is the sound an oven-safe dish full of cheesy potatoes makes when it explodes over every inch of the oven?

      Monday, November 7, 2011


      The Man is a vegetarian. I am decidedly not, and I am anti-vegetarianism when it comes to children. I'm sure there are plenty of vegetarian parents who raise perfectly healthy kids, with very balanced diets and plenty of proteins, but the research I'd have to do to make that happen in my world is way more than I care to manage. I know how to raise omnivores, and I'm ok with that. 

      Meanwhile, if it weren't for me, I'm pretty sure that the Man would live on pasta and muffins. Well, ok, there would be yogurt, eggs and cheese, too, but he is not a very vegetably vegetarian. I try to provide healthier options for him, and I'm pretty good at always incorporating vegetables into the meal. My kids, all three of them, are really good about eating vegetables. Small loves butternut squash soup, for example, and salads with no dressing. 

      She also, however, likes cheeseburgers. She likes them so much, in fact, that her fourth birthday party was cheeseburger themed, right down to the cheeseburger cupcakes

      She is not a huge fan of steaks, and other meats that are hard for her to chew, but she enjoys bacon as much as the next girl, and really appreciates a good piece of fried chicken. 

      As anyone who knows her can attest, though, she is the penultimate Daddy's girl. Daddy is king of the world. He's very smart (knows everything about black holes!) and extra tall. She is like him in so many ways, it is not surprising that she sometimes considers emulating his dietary choices. 

      Yesterday, she said to me, "When I grow up, I'm going to be a veggie-tarian."

      I looked at her askance. She was eating a chicken tender, really relishing it. I asked her why she was thinking about that, and she said that she really does not like to eat animals. I pointed out her cheeseburger affection, and the chicken in her hand, and I may have mentioned bacon. 

      Her response? "Well, I don't like to eat pets."

      I told her that was probably fine, that people do not generally eat their pets. She countered that some people eat hamsters, (by which she actually meant guinea pigs), and other people eat cats and dogs. I confirmed that this is true, but told her she was not in much danger of eating those things, since no one we know has that sort of dietary practice.

      She asked me if anyone eats turtles or frogs. I told her that yes, people do, and they also eat alligators. I explained that, especially in the days before grocery stores were so prevalent, people needed to figure out how to eat whatever was within their reach. For people in certain swampy environments, that sometimes meant that they learned to eat frogs, turtles, and alligators. Then I asked her, what would she eat if she lived in a swamp?

      She thought for a minute, and then said, "Lettuce. I'd find where some lettuce was growing, and eat that. Because vegetables like lettuce grown everywhere."

      I let it go. I don't know whether lettuce grows in the swamp, but anyway, it's pretty pointless to argue with someone who already has it all figured out.

      Sunday, November 6, 2011

      Traveling Times

      This summer, I took my girls on a road trip, through Kentucky, up to Chicago, down to Bloomington, Il, over to St Louis (to see the arch)...

      We also went back to the town from which we moved a year ago several times. We typically go once a month, sometimes twice. Then in October, we took a week long Florida vacation (pure bliss!) complete with beach and Disney World.

      So, about a week ago, Small One says to me, "Mommy, why don't we travel any more?"

      Ha! I am absolutely delighted to know that somewhere, amidst the gigantic cluster of her father's personality traits, there is at least a glimmer of me. She's inherited my wanderlust.

      Anyhoo, we are on the road again. My cousin, to whom I am extremely close, has had to have major surgery, and I'm going to try and be of some assistance. MC is staying home, and the Man has to work, but since my work is portable, and Small is only in preschool, we're off. Interesting, though, the four hour road trip we made today. Here are some things I learned:
      • Small does not like meteors. Because "Astronauts are floating around up there, and they are wearing helmets and stuff like that, but they can still get killed by a meteor."
      • In fact, she's not so sure being an astronaut is such a great plan, since there are a bunch of dangerous things out there, including the sun, which has fire on it, and also, space dust. She doesn't seem clear on what space dust does, but it does not seem good.
      • If anyone lived on Jupiter, they would not be able to move, because there is too much gravity. People on Jupiter would be very short, and would not be able to move. She told me this by way of warning, in case I was considering a move to Jupiter. Her advice? Don't do it.
      • Giraffes are the coolest animals in the world. This is because they have super long necks.
      • Penguins are the coolest ducks in the world. What's that you say? Penguins are not ducks? Ok, well, they are the coolest birds in the world that are not ducks. Or rather, they are the coolest water birds. 
      • Not only that, but they are the biggest birds in the world. Other than flamingos, of course. What? No, they are super big. They're only a couple of feet tall? Well, that is super big for a bird. Oh yeah, maybe ostriches are bigger. But even ostriches are not bigger than Daddy, because Daddy is super tall.(Mom's note: Dad is 5'9", maybe 5'10". So...)
      All in all, a very informative trip. 

      Saturday, November 5, 2011

      Love and Death

      Today, I'm sad about my husband's grandfather. He passed away yesterday, and his funeral will be held tomorrow. The Man will be there, but I will not, primarily out of respect for the family. I am not close to my husband's family, which is not the way I want it, but I am not going to force the issue at such a sad time.

      I will be thinking of all of them, though, with affection and sympathy. "Papa" Paul was a great man. I didn't know him well, because the family situation has prevented it. I read his memoir, though, and I have nothing but respect for him. He was interesting, intelligent, and successful. He lead a fascinating life, raised a family, and lived into his nineties. He was roundly adored by his children and grandchildren.

      I wish I'd gotten to know him, but more than that, I wish my Small had known him. Because we live far from the grandparents, and because we are not close to that side of the family, Small only had the opportunity to meet him twice, and she does not remember him. I tried to keep them up to date on her life, through photos and notes, but I will admit I was not as good about it as I should have been. It was hard, because I am not someone with whom that side of the family attempts to connect.

      It makes me think, though, about how minor our gripes with each other really are. I don't mean the issues between me and my in-laws in particular, but the complaints between people in general. When my own grandmother passed away, earlier this year, I felt sad about times I could have spent with her and didn't. I knew she loved me, she knew I loved her, but I could have sent more photos, made time for more visits, stayed longer and listened more willingly. Now, facing another funeral, I feel the same heaviness of heart.

      My friend's mother passed away last week. She was not sick for very long, in the grand scheme of things. She was about the same age as my mother, I think, and beautiful. She looked strong, but she was not. I saw her a couple of weeks before she died, and I knew at that point that she was not responding well to treatment, but I had no idea that was the last time I'd ever see her. I patted her arm, told her I was praying for her, but if I'd known that was the last time, I would have hugged her.

      If I'd known my husband's grandfather was going to be gone so quickly, I would have encouraged forced done whatever it took to make him go visit his grandparents before it happened. But isn't that the sort of thing we always say? I know it's the sort of thing I always say. I'm going to visit more, complain about people less, send more notes, more photos, make more phone calls. I'm going to share the good things in my life with the people I love while I still have the chance. I'm going to forgive more easily. Better yet, I'm going to decline to take offense in the first place. I'm going to choose not to take offense, to resist pressing my own agenda.

      I always say it, and I always attempt it, but I'm not "there" yet. I want to love with abandon, or at least more assertively. I want to love my mother-in-law whether she wants me to or not. And I want to encourage my uncommunicative husband to communicate, because he cares, he just doesn't always show it.

      How about you? Do you show it? Are you purposefully conscious of the uncertainty of life? Do you strive to love abundantly, and without reservation?

      Several months back, I read a familiar passage of scripture in a different translation. It struck me, and now I read it all the time, whenever I need to remember how we're supposed to love each other, and what that really means. And so, I'll leave you with this, because loving like this is the ultimate goal of my life.

      1st Corinthians 13: 4-8 (From the J.B. Phillips translation):

      This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience- it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress, nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance. 

      Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it shares the joy of those who live by the truth. 

      Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. Love never fails.

      Friday, November 4, 2011

      The Morning After

      Has this ever happened to you? You're out at night, looking fierce and fabulous, just absolutely glowing. You're in fine form, to say the least.

      The next morning, though, it's a different story.  Something is seriously up with your head, you're feeling a little shriveled and somewhat worse for wear. And don't get me started on the snail that's crawling up your lip.

      Ok, maybe not the snail part. But the rest of it, I'm pretty sure we've all been there.

      Thursday, November 3, 2011

      Road to the Whitehouse... 2044?

      Small One is pretty ambitious, and likes to make plans. For about a year now, she has been telling anyone who will listen that when she grows up, she is going to write books and make movies. Specifically, she will be "a guy who writes books and makes movies". (Guy being a completely genderless, favorite word of hers,  indicating a person.)

      She's a little bit impatient about not being in the movies or on television yet, and she questions me about that quite a bit. Clearly, her lack of involvement in the entertainment industry is my parental failing. She is also concerned that those of us who know her now may not be savvy enough to determine which books and movies are her creations, and so we might miss something. We've all assured her that we will stay in touch with her, so that she can keep us abreast of her projects.

      Over the summer, she learned to swim, and decided that she will also be a lifeguard. This is something she will do when she's a teenager, though, and not an adult. She's still planning on the books and movies track for adulthood.

      Except... she may also want to be president. She's torn on this one, because she is not quite sure of how involved American presidents are in wars, and she absolutely does not want to be a soldier and go off to war. We told her that it is not necessary to be a soldier in order to become president, but that she will have to make good choices, and do well in school.

      This is no problem, she assured us, saying "I'm always good in school! I never put my blanket in my mouth, like some of my friends do."

      Well, ok! How very presidential! I know that is the first thing I ask about any candidate. Forget the economy, what is his or her stance on blankets in the mouth?

      Wednesday, November 2, 2011

      Halloween with the Creatures, part deux

      Small One was the best five year old ever on Halloween. She had good manners trick or treating, looked adorable, and when she helped us hand out candy, she not only complimented each trick or treater's costume, but she also offered up her own haul, when we ran out of candy. Of course, as usual, she was also pretty quotable...

      Designing a Jack o' Lantern: "I want the pumpkin to have a frowny mouth, angry eyes, and tears. He is so mad he's crying!"

      Later, to a neighbor we do not know: "Did you see our Jack o' Lantern? He's got tears, and he's mad at his kid."

      On zombies: "Zombies are the scariest monsters, I think. Because they look like guys that are hurt, but when you go over to them, to try and help them, they eat you."

      Note: all she knows of zombies is that a little boy was dressed like one in the grocery store, and when she asked me what he was supposed to be, I said a zombie, which is a type of monster. Yet, strangely, she has a pretty firm grasp of the concept. Is zombie knowledge innate?

      Tuesday, November 1, 2011

      Halloween with the Creatures, part 1

      I hinted at an update, and I promise I'm going to start rewinding soon, but wanted to share some Halloween moments while they are still fresh.

      First, I mentioned the pink poodle obsession... more on that later, but suffice it to say, when I asked what she wanted to be for Halloween, she looked at me like I was crazy. A pink poodle, of course! Duh.

      MC was torn on her costume ideas. She had some really good sci-fi related thoughts, but I'm not going to share them here, for fear of retribution. She likes to hang onto her ideas. She finally decided that she'd be Alice in Wonderland, and the boyfriend would be the Mad Hatter. Have I mentioned the boyfriend? MC has quite a serious boyfriend these days. Like, talking about marriage, serious.

      I should probably be more freaked out about that, but I'm not. He's an Eagle Scout, so... 

      Anyway, they wanted to do  a couple's costume, so the hunt began for an Alice in Wonderland dress. This was a challenge, because she did not want "Sexy Alice", which is pretty much all they sell in adult sizes. My sister rose to the occasion and took her to a mack daddy costume shop, to no avail. I took her here and there, spent some time poring over pattern books... finally, we had two days left, and we determined to spend the whole day looking for the costume. Twelve hours of shopping for a blue dress. Twelve. By hour 10, we were about to pass out, and a kind and well-meaning saleslady mentioned that blue dresses are really hard to find. Oh, really? Thanks for letting us know!  By hour eleven, MC was grasping at anything blue she happened to see. 

      I said "I feel like you'd take a blue sock if you saw one, and call it a costume."

      She said "Yes! I would! I'd be Alice in Wondersock!"

      We hit the fabric store again, and she found a pattern that alleged to be "very easy", but required darts and gathers. I began to hyperventilate at the idea of sewing darts and gathers when I had a 24 hour timeline. She saw the panic on my face and decided we should skip it.

      At hour twelve, we found a blue dress. It did not, for the record, look like Alice in Wonderland, but it was blue. I went to look for accessories, and she called me on the phone to tell me that she'd discussed it with her boyfriend, and they'd decided to be wizards instead, which would involve her buying a sparkly shirt she wanted anyway, and making a construction paper hat. What it would not involve was me sewing anything. Best costume idea ever.